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Wednesday, December 8, 2021
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Butterflies Abound

While it looks like it’s been snowing butterflies for the last few weeks across the territory, it’s a normal occurrence for this time of year, an expert in that field said.

“There are three or four different varieties,” according to Julio Santiago, a wildlife biologist at the Planning and Natural Resources Department’s Fish and Wildlife Division.

While most of those currently decorating the landscape are pale yellow, Santiago said Tuesday that they range in color all the way to orange.

He said the pale yellow ones belong to the Eurema portoricensis species.

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The butterflies lay their eggs in plant leaves in February, March and April before dying, he said. They change into caterpillars in June through September before hatching into butterflies.

He said one of the reasons the hatching occurs in the fall is that there is water available.

According to Santiago, the butterflies live out their life cycles in the Virgin Islands but often migrate to different areas on the same island.

“They are indigenous,” he said, explaining this differs from other butterflies, like the Monarchs, which migrate thousands of miles.

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