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Wandering butterfly makes a rare visit to Island

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A rare visitor to the Island, the Mimic butterfly, has stirred excitement among local naturalists.

The distinctively spotted insect has been sighted around Bermuda for the first time in more than 20 years.

Hypolimnas misippus, so-called because it can resemble a toxic species, is native to the tropics and subtropics of Africa and Asia, said Bermuda Audubon Society president Andrew Dobson.

“It is now resident on several of the Caribbean islands, and may have been introduced by slave trading ships,” Mr Donson added, speculating that warm weather from the south had carried the butterflies here from the islands.

It was photographed on Friday at Spittal Pond by Camilla Stringer. Others were reported at Farm Lane, Warwick, and Ferry Reach.

“It's an exciting and unusual event, to say the least,” said Mr Dobson, who last saw two Mimic butterflies in Astwood Park in October 1991 with the late bird watcher Eric Amons.

“It is interesting to notice a similar October date for the arrival of several of the same species in the past few days,” he added.

A migrant, like the Monarch and Painted Lady butterflies that also pass through Bermuda, the Mimic is far out of its range here and unlikely to settle on the Island

The wandering species occasionally appears in Mississippi, Florida and North Carolina.

Anyone who spots a Mimic is asked to photograph it, and report the sighting to the Audubon Society, with date, time and location, at info@audubon.bm.

Wandering: This Mimic butterfly, a rare visitor to Bermuda, was seen at Spittal Pond, Devonshire.
Wandering: This Mimic butterfly, a rare visitor to Bermuda, was seen at Spittal Pond, Devonshire.

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Published October 14, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 14, 2013 at 1:35 am)

Wandering butterfly makes a rare visit to Island

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