All those little White Butterflies by Maree  Clarkson

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All those little White Butterflies by 

Ink sketch and W&N watercolour in Moleskine 200gsm sketch-book

  1. “How does one become a butterfly?" she asked. "You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar!”

How often have you driven along a country road and seen thousands of white butterflies crossing the road, all going the same way? It is well-known sight during summer and autumn in South Africa, when large numbers of Pioneer White butterflies migrate north-east over the interior.

The butterflies originated from the Southern African interior, where most of their larval host plants grow naturally. The good rains in January and February and the subsequent rush of new leaves saw the females laying their eggs on their specific food plants in great abundance. Within days millions of tiny caterpillars hatched and ate their way steadily but surely “out of house and home”.

These caterpillars then pupated and emerged as butterflies, to go in search of a mate and a new food plant to lay their eggs upon, and so the cycle continues until the larval food plant supply is finished. This phenomenon is known as population explosion.

Adults that have as yet not procreated will disperse to look for their food plants elsewhere and will somehow keep moving in a south-easterly direction towards the sea off Mozambique. Most will unfortunately perish en route due to total exhaustion. A few nectar plants in your garden helps to sustain the travellers!

Wikipedia says,
“The Pioneer White or African Caper White (Belenois aurota) (Afrikaans: Grasveldwitjie) is a small to medium-sized butterfly of the Family Pieridae, that is, the Yellows and Whites, which is found in South Asia and Africa. In Africa, it is also known as the Brown-veined White.

In Africa, the host plants are almost exclusively from the family Capparaceae (Caper) and in particular the genera Boscia, Maerua and Capparis. Eggs are laid in batches of 20 or so, and the larvae are an olive colour with a long black line down its side and a distinct glossy jet-black head."

  1. 5th September 2011 – Place in the TOP10 of the challenge Butterflies/Skoenlappers in “Afrikaans is my Moedertaal/Afrikaans is my Mother tongue” – 10th Place

From my portfolio of Insects

Photographic print – available in S, M, L and XL – for the Lepidoptera-lover

Mounted print with Black border

Framed print


insects, butterfly, brown veined white, maree clarkson, tarlton, magaliesburg, krugersdorp, gauteng, south africa, watercolour

I am a watercolorist living on my little piece of African soil in Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa. The inspiration for my art is the wonderfully rich variety of Fauna and Flora to be found throughout this beautiful country.
“There is a fine line between dreams and reality; it’s up to you to draw it.”

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  • davvi
    davviover 2 years ago

    very talented painting and words.super work.

  • Aaaah, thank you ever so much Davvi!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • Elizabeth Kendall
    Elizabeth Kendallover 2 years ago

    ♪♪ I feel pretty, oh, so pretty! ♪♪
    Dis pragtig Maree!

  • Dankie Liz!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • TokikoAnderson
    TokikoAndersonover 2 years ago

    thanks for making me smart. Its not only lions are sleeping tonight in Africa:D

  • Thanks you for your lovely comment Tokiko!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • Elizabeth Kendall
    Elizabeth Kendallover 2 years ago

    5 Sept. 2011

  • Dis absoluut wonderlik Liz! Baie dankie aan almal wat gestem het, waardeer dit!

    – Maree Clarkson

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