You may have noticed them recently, hundreds, if not thousands, of white traveling butterflies moving south along our St Lucie River/ Indian River Lagoon?
I’ve noticed them, and was so amazed that I actually got out of my car and tried to video tape them. Standing at the Sewall’s Point Town Hall as they darted past, I thought to myself: “Who are these butterflies? I wonder where they are going? What a sense of purpose!”
Flying low, cars zooming past, drafts pushing their slight weight up over vehicles, and sometimes getting hit, they fall like white petals onto the street. Resembling a slow moving army of the American Civil War, they are unfazed by their opposition and keep moving in a formation invisible to the human eye.
So brave. So together—they know where they are going.
Known as the “Great Southern Butterfly,” this pretty, “aquamarined-antennaed” insect breeds in the remaining salt marshes of the Indian River Lagoon, laying eggs commonly on saltwort and reproducing after rains.
During the 1930s and beyond, tremendous percentages of the Indian River Lagoon’s salt marshes were flooded for mosquito control purposes; thus certainly our present army of butterflies is much fewer today than in the past.
These hardy little butterflies can travel more than 40 miles in two days! Can you imagine? I admire their stamina, natural intelligence, and determination. They are a metaphor for our goals and for our lives as we try to save the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.
In honor of their efforts, and the lessons they are teaching, I have determined to temporarily drop my speed while driving, I hope you will too. 🙂
Article on Great Southern Butterfly, Coastal Star: (http://thecoastalstar.ning.com/profiles/blogs/butterfly-bursts-onto-scene-in-great-numbers)
Salt marsh habitat and loss: (http://www.sms.si.edu/IRLSpec/Impoundments.htm)