Brave friends on the road (Updated with different theories)

Ever since I left Poland I’ve wondered what these courageous creatures must be thinking. Butterflies. Whenever it’s sunny they seem to rest or sunbathe or whatever they do, exactly there on the white stripes on the road. They don’t even get distracted by roaring cars or trucks or a silent cyclist passing them. I’m yet to see on get run over though, so maybe they’re just survivors.

I’ve tried to find an explanation on the World Wide Web but other than a few people writing about ‘the warmer the better’ for butterflies, I’ve found nothing.

So now I’ve asked Edith who seems to like butterflies a lot. I’ll get back with the explanation, if she ever replies. Thanks for reading along. This sure is a puzzle.

Updated the 6th of September.

Edith was quick to get back to me.

I would say that they are sitting there to warm up. White wouldn’t be as hot as black asphalt. They don’t have much of a sense of danger until something gets close to them or they see movement. I assume this road doesn’t have constant traffic. Is there sometimes several minutes between cars?

Thanks bunches, Edith

Thank you very much for you reply. It’s actually roads with a lot of traffic so it seems awfully dangerous. Does that alter your explanation?

No, we see butterflies puddling on dirt roads that just won’t move out of the way when we drive over them. We are careful not to run the tires over them.

They aren’t the smartest of creatures!

It is always possible that they’re drinking from dead decayed animal matter on the road but I can’t imagine why they’d only be on the white lines. I know some species are attracted to white over other colors.

Thank you for the clarification. I am not saying I am right but that is what makes the most sense to me – warming up.


Many, many thanks to Edith. Warming up sounds logic. Still, warming up for what? I’ve read that butterflies like to sit in the sun in the morning for their wings to get dry after wet night, and maybe warming them up makes it even easier to fly.

I don’t know so I asked around last night in the hostel in the Montenegrin town Tivat. I got more shrugs than answers but Laury from Finland and Adam from Ireland did bring new theories to the table.

Laury thinks pretty much everything is about concepts. In this case, since butterflies have an adult life span of two weeks or less, they have a different concept of time. Thus, they’re not afraid of dying the same way as you and me. I like the theory but I think it’s a bit flawed (I tried to go into why I think it’s flawed, but suddenly this post got awfully long. Basically I don’t think you can separate time and danger from each other).

The second theory came this morning from Adam. He thinks the butterflies are warming up for reproducing themselves (I’m moderating his more exotic way of describing it).

- It’s the only reason why they’re here, he said and then told me and a young Belgian couple about how these creatures start out eating and eating as caterpillars before they at some point finally turn into butterflies. – And then BAM, he said while pulling back his fists and rapidly pushing forward his crotch. The couple left shortly after and I laughed out maybe a little too loud.

Well, building on the shoulders of giants often leaves you with more questions than answers., they say And here, I don’t really know what to think of these little colorful creatures anymore. Stupid, brave or just an animal living a full life in Brunstzeit?