Vanessa on valerian

I've seen several Painted Ladies this year which is several more than last year. I pursued this one that was attracted to the red valerian that grows like a weed on all the walls but only achieved a couple of decent shots. 

Vanessa cardui   migrates from North Africa to northern Europe right up to the Arctic Circle (and equivalent distance is all other continents apart from Antarctica). It's only in recent years that it has been established that it also migrates back to its starting point but at such a high altitude that that it was undetectable until radar was employed to track it. It uses the wind for extra velocity and the sun for direction-finding. Not all the original butterflies get home: a large proportion of the 'returnees' are succeeding generations of butterflies that emerged during the course of the long migration.

The movement of species across and around our planet, dictated by the need for food, warmth  and territory seems as instinctual as the struggle for life itself. The  call of home is so strong that butterflies, like migrant birds, when in captivity, restively demonstrate  with 'itchy wings'  their urge to travel when the time of the year is right, even though they themselves may never have been 'home'. They are genetically fixated on the  global location where their species originated.

So if this butterfly doesn't get back maybe its offspring's offspring (even to 6 generations down the line) will feel the warm Sahara wind.

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