The study of South Africa’s migrant butterfly 1993 – 2017


Belenois (Anaphaeis) aurota (female)

Belenois (Anaphaeis) aurota (male)

Since the early 1700s there was a lot of speculation as to this migration butterfly which over the years have become famous and very little has been known about their migration patterns and why they migrate. Presented here is a study which took place from 1993 to 2015. Please bare in mind that there is always new things to discover about butterflies especially the South African Migratory Butterfly (Belenois (Anaphaeis) aurota)



Earle Whiteley started a study program on South Africa’s migrant butterfly in 1993 which was instigated by the popular demand for information from the general public in the Cape Province.

Since then Earle has travelled throughout South Africa and in the process has found many localized colonies in all the Provinces of South Africa and in Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana and Kenya.

Also having the great opportunity to witness numerous migrations of this butterfly from all parts of South Africa. Not only does the African Migrant butterfly (African Brown Veined White) migrate alone as a species, but it also includes many others, especially grassland butterflies that get caught up in the euphoria and excitement of the moments of this unusual occurrence each year. Many Experts and some more knowledgeable self-made experts have been befuddled for many years as to why this migration takes place and for what reasons. Earle claims in this statement “I have found a great deal of enthusiasm, dedication and passion from many of these knowledgeable self-made experts, as they are out there in the field collecting and discovering new things, while on the other hand, I have found a great lack of interest from some experts having degrees and doctorships in entomology. Maybe this is due to them being paid by museums or universities for their input, whereas my knowledgeable self-made experts pay their own way for their self inflicted passion of butterflies………. and they know a lot more about butterflies than some of our experts”. So, it stands to reason that the majority of this study of our migrant butterfly has been done by our knowledgeable self-made experts, who know what they discovered and seen.

What to do when you first witness the migration taking place? Feel free to contact us whenever you do have the opportunity of witnessing this remarkable event. The information you have supplied will help us greatly to see whether the numbers of our migratory butterflies are dwindling or increasing. It also educates us as to which other flight paths they create for the future. Please contact us on Thank you