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Butterflies

May 18, 2013

How does a fragile butterfly survive the winter? Metamorphosis is an incredible process: from egg to larva to pupa to magnificent butterfly. Total recycling! In the pupa, a larva transforms into a butterfly.

So butterflies overwinter as eggs – right? Not all.

Often, the first butterfly out and about in spring is the Mourning Cloak. I doubt anyone outside of royalty wears mourning cloaks anymore, but the deep velvet-like colour of the wings warrants the name. These butterflies overwinter as adults. They find a crevice in the wood and wait until the warmth of spring to come out into the sun and lay their eggs. The larva emerges, eats and eats and then – becomes a pupa. The emerging butterfly overwinters as an adult.

Does a butterfly remember its life as a caterpillar? Probably not.   But imagine going from plodding among the leaves to flying free among the flowers and then off into the sky. If butterflies do have such a memory, then they must know the joy of  new-found freedom.

Or so I’d like to imagine.

Fritillarie

Fritillarie

Pale Swallowtail

Pale Swallowtail

Pale Swallowtail - did a bird snip that wing tip?  The butterfly survived to fly another day.

Pale Swallowtail – did a bird snip that wing tip? The butterfly survived to fly another day.

Tortoiseshell

Mourning Cloak

Mourning Cloak

Mourning Cloak

Mourning Cloak

Western Tiger Swallowtail

Western Tiger Swallowtail

all writing and photos copyright Joanne A. Siderius

2 Comments
  1. I can’t decide which one is more beautiful….fantastic post!

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