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The Valley of Butterflies, also known as Petaloudes Valley, is located on the western side of the Greek island of Rhodes, about 25 kilometers away from the city. The valley is home to thousands of butterflies of the Rhodes subspecies of the Jersey Tiger Moth (Euplagia quadripunctaria rhodosensis), who make their annual appearance after the rainy season, towards the end of May, covering the entire landscape in a thick but delicate blanket.

During the rainy period, the butterflies live in the Mediterranean thicket in the caterpillar stage feeding on foliage. At the end of the wet season, the caterpillars metamorphose into butterflies. As the dry season approaches, the butterflies migrate, travelling at night in search of humidity, following the water course, and end up in the valley. The butterflies are attracted by the aroma from the valley’s Oriental Sweet gum trees. Once they reach their destination, they settle lightly on the trunks of trees and rocks and whatever surface is available, in great numbers.

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© Amusing Planet, 2015.


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