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Butterflies can't stand the Top End rain

Matt Brann, Friday April 5, 2013 - 12:12 EDT
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One of the survivors: A week of persistent rain in the Northern Territory town of Batchelor has caused some issues for the local butterfly farm. - ABC

A week of persistent rain in the Northern Territory town of Batchelor has caused some issues for the local butterfly farm.

Owner Chris Horn says a lot of his butterflies have perished, because they were unable to handle the big rains.

"The flowers aren't opening because of the ongoing cloud cover and if there's no flowers opening then the nectar doesn't come out, so the female butterfly doesn't eat nectar and they get very slow," he explained.

"So they sit on the leaves and they hang on, and as they sit there in the rain they get tired, but one of their worst enemies is getting stronger and stronger - the green tree frog,

"So he's hanging around the bottom of the plant waiting for the butterflies to fall off (and cleaning up)."

Mr Horn says during heavy rains, butterfly eggs and caterpillars are usually washed off leaves and into the path of predators.

He says it's an issue that strikes during most wet seasons and on first count he's lost around 50 of his prized butterflies.

"It takes a while for them to recover, but what I'll do is buy more eggs from the Melbourne Zoo and start all over again."

Despite this loss, Mr Horn remains very upbeat about his business.

"The wonderful thing about butterflies is that they attract beautiful women and what more do you want?"


© ABC 2013

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