Millions of painted lady butterflies have invaded southern Quebec.
They’ve been spotted in gardens, parks and even on sidewalks.
“We didn’t have the most fantastic summer, so by seeing all these butterflies, you feel like you’ve been given this gift,” said Montreal West resident Carley Decarie.
Though for many, the sight is a pleasant one, some people are puzzled as to why the butterflies have landed here.
“The kids love them too,” said Lachine resident Lynn Macdonald.
“They see them, even at school lately, you go in the yard, there’s butterflies everywhere, but I don’t know where they came from.”
Head of research and collections at the Montreal Insectarium, Maxim Larrivée, said this year, the butterflies have reproduced in large numbers.
“They were able to, over winter, reproduce in their over-wintering grounds, which is southern United States and northern Mexico, in really high numbers,” he said.
“When they started migrating back north, there were really strong southern winds early in the spring, so they made it back to Canada and Quebec.”
Larrivée explained butterflies usually fly up to 300 to 400 metres in the air.
They’re flying low this time to look for nectar on flowers and replenish their energy levels before they head off.
“We had this nice weather that came nine days ago, but it came with southern winds, which is completely contradictory to the kind of winds they’re looking for to make their migration south,” said Larrivée.
“They’ve been on the ground here waiting for good currents to start their migration. “
With the temperatures changing, experts say they won’t be around for much longer.
If you want to share photos or sightings of painted lady butterflies to help with research at the Montreal Insectarium, you can do so here.