A colorful shimmering spectacle that is detected by satellites over the us state of Colorado, has been identified as swarms of migrating butterflies.
Scientists at the National Weather Service (NWS) first mistook the orange radar blob for the birds and had asked the public to help identify the species.
They then established that the 70-mile-wide (110 km), the mass was a kaleidoscope of Painted Lady butterflies.
Meteorologists say that it is rare for flying insects to be detected by radar.
“We had never seen a signature like that in a while,” said NWS meteorologist Paul Schlatter, who first spotted the radar blip.
“We are able to detect migratory birds all the time, but they were flying from north to south,” he told CBS News, explaining that this direction of travel would be unusual for migratory birds for the period of the year.
So he put the question on Twitter, asking for help to determine the species of birds.
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The end of the Twitter post by @NWSBoulder
Almost every answer that he received was the same: “the Butterflies”.
“The migration of butterflies in high quantities, explain”, he later wrote on the NWS Boulder Twitter account.
That is to say, three inches in length, Painted Lady butterfly, which fell in clouds the Denver area in the last few weeks.
The species, commonly mistaken for monarch butterflies, is found throughout the continental United States, and travel to the northern Mexico and the southwestern U.S. during the cold months.
They are known to follow the wind patterns, and can glide hundreds of miles every day.
The end of the Twitter post by @kikidenver