NEWS

Giant Butterfly Shows Up In Montreal

07/16/2012 08:07 EDT | Updated 09/15/2012 05:12 EDT
CP
Tourists are not the only ones flocking to Montreal to enjoy the summer heat, it seems a butterfly never before seen in the region has also taken a liking to la belle province.

The giant swallowtail, a butterfly otherwise found further south, bloomed out of its cocoon to bat its wings for the first time.

Entomology expert Maxim Larrivée said he found a group of giant swallowtail caterpillars at the Botanical Gardens a few weeks ago. The rest of the caterpillars remain at the Insectarium while preparing to become adults.

"From a standpoint of range expansion and adaptation to climate change, this guy is the champion," said Larrivée.

The butterfly was released and flew directly to a tree before disappearing out of sight.

The giant swallowtail has migrated nearly 400 kilometres north in the last decade.

Larrivée said that although this is an extraordinary find, it is no fluke. He said he and his peers have seen many species migrate north in recent years.

"We can think of at least ten species that are moving north or expanding their distribution at rates that are ten folds faster than what is the average for organisms," he said.

Record numbers of Monarch butterflies were recently sported as far north as Edmonton and Northern Ontario.

Dr. Eyad Atallas at the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, said "weather patterns are changing, this summer for instance, has been a great example of it."

He believes that, like it or not, the planet is slowly getting warmer.