Where Adult Butterflies Winter
When temperatures reach – 0°F you don’t expect to find any adult butterflies in your back yard. Ok, here is my story . . . Yesterday I planned on starting a fire in the fireplace to help defray the cost of my gas bill (because temperatures are soo cold). I brought my first load of wood into the house and then returned for my second load! I notice in the white snow something that looked exactly like a butterfly standing up! Naa, it had to be bark right? Nope, with a closer inspection it was an Eastern Comma that fallen out of the woodpile and into the snow!
Most butterfly species will over winter as a chrysalis, caterpillar or even in the egg stage before continuing its life cycle in the spring and become an adult butterfly. The anglewings and tortoise-shells will over winter as an adult and be our very first butterflies to start flying when temperatures reach the 60’s. They survive the winter by building up natural antifreezes into there bodies once the temperatures start getting colder and then go into a hibernation once it is too cold to be out flying around. This Eastern Comma that I found is currently in the hibernation stage and just waiting for spring to arrive.
Even before temperatures get cold these butterflies will find a hiding spot to then spend the rest of there winter in them. These locations will include spots under tree bark, behind shingles, or even in small crevices created by woodpiles. Ooo, this poor butterfly . . . I found its hiding spot and now needs my help to survive! After taking a few photos, I placed this butterfly in an area of the wood pile that I will be sure not to move until summertime (and sheltered from predators/weather). It is a harsh way of being reminded of spring but how many others can include Eastern Comma to your year-list (CHECK) during the month of February??
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