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The butterfly that's all over your windshield

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SAN ANTONIO - Anyone else's windshield covered in bugs lately in Texas? No, it's not Notre Dame fans spitting at you. It's butterflies. A lot of them.

"The butterfly that most people have been seeing, covering the windshields that's really been coming through the region lately is the (American) Snout Butterfly," says Tyler Seiboldt, the manager of the Monarch and Milkweed project at UTSA. We'll get to that in a minute.

Snouts are nosey, brown and leafy and they love South Texas's hackberry plants, especially after a prolonged drought like we just had and then rain.

"Their movement through the year has a lot do with the recent episodic rain we've had recently that have created a lot of new hackberry's to feed on," Seiboldt says.

University of Texas Professor Larry Gilbert and one of the global leaders on the Snout says what you're seeing are only males. He says normal biological controls by parasites are disrupted, leading to this outbreak.

They don't follow predictable migration patterns like monarchs do, Seiboldt says. They just follow their nose...err stomach.


"They'll come through, feed and they'll move to the next area where there's less predators more food," he says.

The monarch on the other hand follows a migration pattern from Mexico to Canada and back every year. Both ways, funneling through South Texas to munch on milkweed. Problem is, unlike the snouts, the monarch population is dwindling, something they're trying to help reverse at UTSA.

"Making sure Texas is part of the solution, and not the problem in regards to this crashing monarch population that we've been seeing over the last 10-15 years," Seiboldt says.

Monarchs will come through our area in late October or November headed south and the north again around spring time.

By Andrew Lofholm

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