The Butterfly Valley, Petaloudes
Known as the Petaloudes Valley in Greek, the Butterfly Valley is located on the western side of Rhodes. What makes it special is that it is home to a diverse range of species of Jersey Tiger moths. Every year, colorful moths and butterflies cover the land from mid-June to mid-September. They are attracted to the region due to highly humid weather conditions. The Oriental Sweetgum trees in the valley give off a faint, distinctive scent that attracts moths and butterflies, creating an exceptional biotope.
The natural beauty of the landscape, combined with the delightful presence of thousands of butterflies, brings in hordes of local and foreign tourists to the valley every summer. Unfortunately, the population of butterflies is depleting progressively since they don’t have a stomach and can’t feed to gain energy. When disturbed due to human activities, they fly more frequently, which causes excessive energy loss. This is one of the leading reasons behind the decreasing population of butterflies in the region.
A few decades ago, a German entomologist, studied the butterflies that emerge in the Butterfly Valley during June and September. This particular species of butterflies is called Callimorpha Qudripunctaria Himalaiensis. The remarkable name befits the species since it was first discovered in the great mountains of Himalayas. These butterflies are abundantly found in Australia, Brazil, Peru, California, and many other places where the native plants include the Liquidambar Orientalis trees.
The butterflies appear in the valley during the summer season. They mate, lay eggs on the island, and fly off in September once the temperature starts to change. The eggs produce larva in April. By the next month, the larvae transform into chrysalises. The transformation finally completes in early June as chrysalises transform into adult butterflies. As the temperature starts to rise, these beautiful butterflies leave their locale and travel through the night to reach the valley. The moderately cool temperature of the valley and its surrounding areas, coupled with the sweet scent of raisins, is the reason behind this mass migration.