It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, it is the one that is the most adaptable to change. – Charles Darwin
When reflecting on butterflies, visions of warm sunshiny days may fill one’s mind. It is not usual to think of a butterfly and to also invoke images of such things as snow, sleet or sub-zero temperatures. Many species of butterflies, however, have had to, over time, consider, adapt to and survive such wintry conditions.
It is true that some butterflies, such as the well known Monarch, spread their wings and flutter south to escape Old Man Winter, but various others are not so flighty. Take, for example, the Bronze Copper, it withstands the cool weather as a wee little egg. Curled-up leaves, buried deep beneath the snow, create the ideal escape and lodging for caterpillars such as Tawny Emperors, Fritillaries, Crecents and Checkerspots.
Swallowtails, Sulphurs and Whites, bear the hardships of winter by hiding out and undergoing metamorphosis as a chrysalis. Red-Spotted Purples and other Admirals build their very own shelter, called a hibernaculum. This is a miniature abode made just for hibernating as its name suggests. Mourning Cloaks, Commas and Question Marks, face the wintertide as adult butterflies. They look for a place to safely hibernate, seeking such refuges as wood piles or tree bark.
Which ever way they do it, hats, scarves and mittens off to the amazingly adaptable butterflies who endure Jack Frost’s torment. Come springtime, I think I can speak for all, in saying how grateful we are for your tenacious and triumphant perseverance!
Above are photographs of the butterflies featured pictorially in this blog, going clockwise… Red Spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis), Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa), Tawny Emperor (Asterocampa clyton), Bronze Copper (Lycaena hyllus) & Anise Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon) at center.
Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!