Clouds of Beauty
The painted lady butterfly gets its name from the beautiful design in orange, black and white on its wings, which average about two and a half inches in full span. Every year, millions of these little creatures are seen in full migration. The painted lady is the most widespread of all species of butterfly. It is found in Asia, Africa and South America. The species familiar to North Americans migrates from Mexico all the way to Canada. This is a one-way trip because the female butterfly lays her eggs in Mexico, then migrates to Canada, where she eventually dies. In some way the following year, each newly hatched butterfly in Mexico knows exactly when and where to migrate, but this is one of the great mysteries of migration.
Some years there are more painted lady butterflies than others, and Dennis Murphy, director of the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University, has pointed out that the migrating population can be a thousand times greater in an exceptional year compared to normal years. Dr. Murphy believes that these unusually large populations are the result of drought conditions that also produce a greater crop of weedy thistles. The painted lady butterflies live on these thistles and never threaten any other crop.
God’s design of the painted lady butterfly bears witness to His work as an artistic Creator who paints the landscape for thousands of miles with these beautiful creatures and a logical Creator who maintains the balance of nature.