Spend enough time in the bush and you’re bound to witness some interesting happenings. Such was the case last evening out on the Moolort Plains. I was chasing raptors, without luck, when I noticed a procession of butterflies moving north-west along the roadside. They were Caper Whites Belenois java teutonica, a species renowned for making massed migrations in search of host plants, generally those in the genus Capparis, such as the Native Orange.
As I watched on, dozens of the butterflies passed every few minutes, sticking close to the roadside vegetation – remnant Yellow Box and Buloke. I followed them and was intrigued to discover that they had a special attraction to the Tree Violets in the understorey of the canopy trees – masses of Caper Whites were hanging in the shade from the foliage. While I’ve seen this butterfly regularly over the years, this is the first time I can recall observing such an association with Tree Violet.