Friday, November 17, 2006

Butterflies and Moths in Winter

As winter approaches in north Florida, I keep wondering how each species of butterfly and moth spends the winter.

Some species are clearly already prepared for winter, such as the Viceroy Limenitis archippus in our garden and on willow at the sides of the road. Willows are dropping their leaves. But every now and then I see a tightly curled leaf still on the bare limb. the Viceroy caterpillar has eaten half the leaf and curled the rest into a tube. The little rascal even sewed the leaf to the twig with webbing. Of course, that is the reason it's even on the limb when all other leaves have fallen off. With the onset of spring and new willow leaves, the caterpillar leaves the leaf curl (called a hibernaculum) to eat and grow again.

Edith Smith
Shady Oak Butterfly Farm

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