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A Swarm of a ‘Billion’ Painted Lady Butterflies Is Migrating Through Southern California

[dropcap size=big]A[/dropcap] massive swarm of at least 1 billion butterflies is traveling across Los Angeles and neighboring counties at a breathtaking speed of almost 20 miles an hour, reports said.

The butterfly species Painted Ladies, cousins to the Monarch butterfly, are in a rush to reach breeding areas in Oregon after spending winter in the deserts of northern Mexico, according to Tom Merriman, a director of a butterfly non-profit group in Encinitas, in an interview with the Pasadena Star News. “They’ve laid tons of eggs in the desert, and so there may be over a billion butterflies,” Merriman told the paper.

Social media users in L.A. reported seeing the fluttering insects across the region, from Glendora to the beaches to South-Central L.A. Butterflies floated quickly across Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in South L.A. from downtown to Leimert Park.

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Experts said the migration is prompted also by California’s heavy winter rains. Butterflies had actually become scarce in California during the prolonged previous drought, the L.A. Times noted.

* Updated.

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