‘Super bloom’ attracts swarms of butterflies

'Super Bloom' erupts in Southern California

(CNN) - It’s a glorious time of year in Southern California.

The wildflower super bloom is not only filling the deserts with eye-popping displays of color, it's also providing a feast for swarms of painted lady butterflies.

They've started to migrate up from Mexico. A professor at the University of California-Davis, who's been studying butterflies' migration for nearly 50 years, says this is the biggest outbreak since 2005.

He said painted ladies tend to thrive when there's a super bloom, because there are so many plants for the butterflies to lay their eggs on and for caterpillars to eat.

Wildflower 'super bloom' provides feast for butterflies

In North America, painted ladies spend the winter around the U.S.-Mexico border and fly north in the spring.

Their descendants travel back south in the fall.

Painted ladies are orange and black, and they are often mistaken for the bigger, more famous monarch butterflies.

The painted ladies tend to migrate in waves, and people say it's magical to see them at the peak of the migration.

The wildflower super bloom is not only filling the California deserts with eye-popping displays of color, it's also providing a feast for swarms of painted lady butterflies.
The wildflower super bloom is not only filling the California deserts with eye-popping displays of color, it's also providing a feast for swarms of painted lady butterflies. (CNN, KCAL, UC South Coast Research and Extension Center, Melanie Arias, Jessica McGhee)

Copyright 2019 CNN. KCAL contributed to the report. All rights reserved.