The Great Siberian Butterflypocalipse

June 28, 2017

Extinct in the UK, and on the retreat in western Europe and Scandinavia, the species if prolific this summer in Tomsk and Novosibirsk.

It’s been called the ‘butterflypocalipse’, an invasion of the Black-veined White butterfly which flies under the scientific name Aporia crataegi.

The abundance  of butterflies has led to  unexpected photo and video opportunities in these regions of Siberia.

‘In the summer of 2016, the number of butterflies was significantly smaller,’ said Vladimir Romanenko, the Head of the Invertebrate Zoology Department at Tomsk State University.

‘This year, there are a lot of them, and next year there will be even more.’

The species has rounded white wings with clear black veins and usually feeds on fruits of the wild bird cherry and apples.

The species is common in Europe, Asia and North America, but is extinct in the United Kingdsom and northern Scandinavia, migratory in the Netherlands and retreating from France.

The huge colonies in Siberia show no signs of retreat.

‘It’s quite common for most insects: for a few years, there are a little less of them, and then their population starts to grow,’ said Romanenko.

‘Currently, black-veined white butterflies have not yet reached their normal abundance, which is … oh my goodness how many!’

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