With a rainforest just meters from our backyard, we used to see at least one or two Ulysses Butterflies come through our yard daily. Unfortunately, when Cyclone Debbie pounded the Whitsundays in Late March 2017, we didn't see another Ulysses right through 2017 and into 2018.
Honestly, the joy we felt when just over a month ago we saw another Ulysses butterfly in our garden, having a feed on the pink Pentas flowers we had especially grown for this particular species, well to say we were over the moon is a real understatement.
We really thought that Cyclone Debbie had somehow wiped them out. We had asked friends and neighbors if they if they had seen any, with negative replies. That day, after 8 months, well it was like winning the lotto.
Since that day we have only seen one or two, not like the regular daily visits of pre Cyclone Debbie. There are plenty of other species visiting the yard so we are thinking that maybe the Ulysses just needs time to breed up again.
Unfortunately, we have since learnt the the Ulysses butterfly is part of a wider insect population decline that has scientists scratching their heads to find an answer.
Owner of the Innisfail Insect Farm, Jack Hasenpusch, is having a hard time finding insects and at this time of the year, that is very, very unusual. The world famous Kuranda Butterfly Sanctuary has been having difficulties breeding the beautiful Ulysses butterfly for a couple of years now, and have sought the help of experts from the University of Queensland.
And it's not just Queensland or Australia that is having the same type of insect problems. Melbourne Zoo is having the same butterfly breeding problem as Kuranda and so are breeders as far off as Italy and New Caledonia. It's certainly a perplexing problem.
So if you see a Ulysses butterfly in the wild, rejoice at their beauty and keep your camera handy. You may not see many of these breathtakingly beautiful creatures in the future.