Wildlife Gardeners - North American Wildlife Gardening  

Go Back   Wildlife Gardeners - North American Wildlife Gardening > Wildlife Gardeners of North America Unite > Butterflies & Moths

Reply
 
LinkBack (42) Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-15-2010, 05:19 PM   #1
Fox
 
NEWisc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Wisconsin
butterfly How do Butterflies Survive the Winter?

Even with a foot of snow on the ground, and temperatures averaging in the 20's for highs and single digits for lows, they still have to be somewhere. Most everyone is familiar with the epic migration of the Monarch butterfly, but I decided to find out how some of the rest of the butterflies in my area survive the winter. I used the list of species in this thread:
http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/for...ly-garden.html

It turns out that each species has it’s own strategy for carrying on it's species into the next year. Each of the stages of the butterfly’s life cycle are used by various butterflies. Some will overwinter as an egg (ovum), some as a caterpillar (larva), some as a chrysalis (pupa) and some as an adult (imago). Here’s what I found for the list of butterflies:

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor) - Chrysalis
Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus) - Chrysalis
Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) - Chrysalis
Canadian Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio canadensis) - Chrysalis
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) - Chrysalis
Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus) - Chrysalis
Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) - Chrysalis

Mustard White (Pieris napi) - Chrysalis
Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice) - Chrysalis
Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme) - Chrysalis

Coral Hairstreak (Satyrium titus) - Egg
Edwards’ Hairstreak (Satyrium edwardsii) - Egg
Eastern Tailed-Blue (Everes comyntas) - Caterpillar
Karner Blue (Lycaeides melissa samuelis) (rare, endangered) - Egg
Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) - Chrysalis

Monarch (Danaus plexippus) - Migrant

Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia) - Migrant
Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele) - Caterpillar
Aphrodite Fritillary (Speyeria aphrodite) - Caterpillar
Atlantis Fritillary (Speyeria atlantis) - Caterpillar
Silver-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene) - Caterpillar
Meadow Fritillary (Boloria bellona) - Caterpillar

Silvery Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis) - Caterpillar
Harris' Checkerspot (Chlosyne harrisii) - Caterpillar
Northern Crescent (Phyciodes cocyta) - Caterpillar
Baltimore (Euphydryas phaeton) - Caterpillar
Gray Comma (Polygonia progne) - Adult Hibernation
Compton Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis vaualbum) - Adult Hibernation
Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) - Adult Hibernation
Milbert's Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis milberti) - Adult Hibernation
American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) - Migrant
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) - Migrant

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) - Migrant
Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia) - Migrant
Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax) - Caterpillar
White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis arthemis) - Caterpillar
Viceroy (Limenitis archippus) - Caterpillar

Northern Pearly Eye (Enodia anthedon) - Caterpillar
Little Wood Satyr (Megisto cymela) - Caterpillar
Common Wood-Nymph (Cercyonis pegala) - Caterpillar

Tawny-edged Skipper (Polites themistocles) - Chrysalis
Peck’s Skipper (Polites peckius) - Caterpillar

Some sources differed on the stage by which a species overwinters. This list is my best assessment of how these species overwinter in my area. Some butterflies will use a different strategy in a different geographical location. And of course the Migrants overwinter by some means in locations more southerly than mine.

It was interesting to note the types of comments that were sometimes included in the overwintering information. Interesting in that the various caterpillars and adults often had different strategies for their individual survival:
  1. Fourth-stage caterpillars hibernate in rolled leaves on the ground.
  2. Third-stage caterpillars make a shelter from a rolled leaf tip in which to spend the winter.
  3. Partially-grown caterpillars hibernate at the base of the host plant.
  4. Overwinters as a caterpillar in seed pods of food plant.
  5. Overwinters as a caterpillar in silken nests below host plants on ground.
  6. Overwinters as an adult in the shelter of hollow trees, under bark or utilize seasonal outbuildings.
  7. Hibernate as adults. For protection they use hollow logs, woodpiles and loose bark.
  8. Overwinters as a young caterpillar in a hibernaculum (rolled leaf) on host plants.
  9. Caterpillars overwinter in leafy case on host plants.
  10. Overwinters as caterpillar in leaf tip shelter.

It seems that nature’s ‘untidiness’ is very important to butterflies. Without these places of shelter their ability to survive the winter would be greatly diminished. It also provides us with a great reason to embrace untidiness. We should be cautious about being too tidy in our butterfly gardens, prairies, and other butterfly habitat.
__________________
.
Age is a biological fact.
Old is a state of mind.
I will age, but I refuse to get old.
NEWisc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2010, 07:39 PM   #2
1st Place Winner Winner Butterfly/Moth Contest & Official Ant Man
 
MrILoveTheAnts's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: New Jersey
Default

I read in a book once called "The Butterfly Gardener's Guide." It's a short book and easy read, and mostly doesn't contain anything you can't find online for free. One chapter though is written by someone who over winteres butterflies as though they were populations.

Basically if you have a layer of leaves on your compost pile you're doing a good job already. I didn't start seeing Eastern Comma's in the early spring until I started composting for example. Compost piles can be improved though by stuffing a wooden box with leaves and keeping it on it's side.

A waterproof spot is essential. It can be as simple as nailing a tin can on the top of a poll, but the nail needs to be sealed farther with glue or silicone. The can should be at an angle too and stuffed with leaves.

A wood piles that goes undisturbed over the winter is another good idea but not as good as it could be. In the book the person places logs in a grid like pattern with space between them. So 8 logs this way in a row, and on top of that 8 logs going the other way. This is built up to be several layers high. On top waterproof material is attached. Along the outside, vines such as Hops, Coral Honeysuckle, or Virginia Creeper, which are also host plants are allowed to grow all along it. The trouble is this attracts snakes, rodents, wasps, and so on too.

It's great that you mention Karner Blue butterflies. That group of butterflies in general is on the decline world wide. Habitat lose is the key issue. Host plant is Lupinus perennis, and they only eat the flowers or seed pods. They have two generations every year, the second of which needs to over winter inside an ant nest.

YouTube - Butterfly eggs and caterpillar survival - Life in the Undergrowth - BBC Attenborough

One that you didn't mention was the Gulf Fritillary which is every bit as pretty as the Monarch, but uses Passion Fruit as it's host plant.

Last edited by Cirsium; 07-31-2010 at 08:18 PM. Reason: Repaired link
MrILoveTheAnts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2010, 09:09 PM   #3
WG Hospitality & UAOKA recipient
 
dapjwy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Pennsylvania
Default

NEWisc,

I found this very informative. Thank you for sharing.
dapjwy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2010, 09:17 PM   #4
WG Hospitality & UAOKA recipient
 
dapjwy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Pennsylvania
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrILoveTheAnts View Post

...Basically if you have a layer of leaves on your compost pile you're doing a good job already. I didn't start seeing Eastern Comma's in the early spring until I started composting for example. Compost piles can be improved though by stuffing a wooden box with leaves and keeping it on it's side.

A waterproof spot is essential. It can be as simple as nailing a tin can on the top of a poll, but the nail needs to be sealed farther with glue or silicone. The can should be at an angle too and stuffed with leaves.

A wood piles that goes undisturbed over the winter is another good idea but not as good as it could be...
MrILoveTheAnts,

Thank you for some additional, inspiring info. I have been leaving piles of leaves in several spots trying to smother what is underneath. In addition to that I sometimes add them to my brush piles--or the wind does. After reading your reply, I hope to put some of your suggestions into practice for next year. :-)
dapjwy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2012, 08:41 AM   #5
WG Prize & Gift Coordinator
 
havalotta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Michigan
Default

Quote:
Butterfly eggs and caterpillar survival - Life in the Undergrowth - BBC Attenborough - YouTube
How amazing that not one but two species depend upon this type of ant for their survival.
__________________
The successful woman is the woman that had the chance and took it!

A walk among the elusive Whitetail Deer
havalotta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-28-2012, 11:00 AM   #6
WG Fundraising Coordinator
 
linrose's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Kentucky
Default

Thanks NEWisc for this valuable information. Looks like all the spicebush cats have gone on walkabout but I still have 13 Black Swallowtail cats on the fennel. I'll be looking for chrysalids soon!
linrose is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2013, 03:52 PM   #7
Salamander
 
KC Clark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Central Ohio
Default

I've always avoided overwintering caterpillars because I figured I would not be able to keep them alive. But a couple years ago I was raising my first ever viceroy cats and I did not want to let them go. I was raising them on a potted black willow using small wedding bags with built-in drawstrings. The cats built their hibernacula right in the bags. When spring came, the black willow was dead. I had no access to other known viceroy hostplants so I switched the hibernacula/bags over to an ornamental crabapple and hoped. The cats came out of hibernation, happily ate the the crabapple leaves, and pupated. A few weeks later, the butterflies eclosed. And that is how I raised my first overwintering red spotted purples.

Those of you who can tell the difference between RSP and viceroy cats are better than me. I thought they were viceroy because I saw a viceroy nectaring on my Joe Pye, which was 4' away from my black willow. I immediately took a look at the black willow and found eggs, so I then made a bad assumption about what the eggs were. Very disappointed they were not viceroys but at least I now know how to overwinter RSPs.
KC Clark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2016, 01:55 PM   #8
Alternate POM Judge
 
EllenW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Maryland
Default

I did an internet search on butterfly overwintering. This thread came up. Great information especially for this time of year. The garden needs to be left alone for the butterflies to overwinter
__________________
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. Aristotle
EllenW is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
battus philenor, buttefly winter survival, butterflies, butterflies in winter, butterfly, butterfly garden, butterfly habitat, butterfly host plants, butterfly life cycle, butterfly species, butterfly survival, caterpillar, caterpillars, chlosyne nycteis, chrysalis, enodia anthedon, fritillary, imago, larva, native plants, pupa, survive, swallowtail, winter

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


LinkBacks (?)
LinkBack to this Thread: http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/forum/butterflies-moths/5218-how-do-butterflies-survive-winter.html
Posted By For Type Date
University of Illinois Extension serving DeWitt, Macon and Piatt Counties This thread Refback 10-10-2017 07:42 PM
How to garden for butterflies year-round | Queen of Green | David Suzuki Foundation This thread Refback 07-27-2017 09:43 AM
Grubbing Around in the Garden & Looking for Spring Deborah Madison This thread Refback 04-02-2017 10:38 AM
How to garden for butterflies year-round | Queen of Green | David Suzuki Foundation This thread Refback 03-30-2017 08:31 AM
How to garden for butterflies year-round | Queen of Green | David Suzuki Foundation This thread Refback 03-18-2017 09:26 AM
How to garden for butterflies year-round | Queen of Green | David Suzuki Foundation This thread Refback 03-16-2017 09:07 AM
How to garden for butterflies year-round | Queen of Green | David Suzuki Foundation This thread Refback 03-12-2017 05:34 PM
How to garden for butterflies year-round | Queen of Green | David Suzuki Foundation This thread Refback 03-10-2017 09:30 AM
How to garden for butterflies year-round | Queen of Green | David Suzuki Foundation This thread Refback 03-10-2017 02:44 AM
How to garden for butterflies year-round | Queen of Green | David Suzuki Foundation This thread Refback 03-09-2017 08:04 AM
How to garden for butterflies year-round | Queen of Green | David Suzuki Foundation This thread Refback 03-08-2017 08:07 PM
How to garden for butterflies year-round | Queen of Green | David Suzuki Foundation This thread Refback 03-08-2017 06:08 PM
How to garden for butterflies year-round | Queen of Green | David Suzuki Foundation This thread Refback 03-08-2017 05:07 PM
How to garden for butterflies year-round | Queen of Green | David Suzuki Foundation This thread Refback 03-08-2017 04:51 PM
How to garden for butterflies year-round | Queen of Green | David Suzuki Foundation This thread Refback 03-08-2017 03:36 PM
How to garden for butterflies year-round | Queen of Green | David Suzuki Foundation This thread Refback 03-08-2017 02:44 PM
How to garden for butterflies year-round | Queen of Green | David Suzuki Foundation This thread Refback 03-08-2017 02:08 PM
How to garden for butterflies year-round | Queen of Green | David Suzuki Foundation This thread Refback 03-08-2017 09:33 AM
How to garden for butterflies year-round | Queen of Green | David Suzuki Foundation This thread Refback 03-08-2017 08:57 AM
How to garden for butterflies year-round | Queen of Green | David Suzuki Foundation This thread Refback 02-20-2017 12:58 PM
How to garden for butterflies year-round | Queen of Green | David Suzuki Foundation This thread Refback 02-19-2017 10:50 PM
Blogs | David Suzuki Foundation This thread Refback 02-16-2017 09:46 PM
Butterflies in Winter - Birds and Blooms This thread Refback 11-30-2016 01:42 AM
How do Butterflies Survive the Winter? - Wildlife Gardeners - North American Wildlife Gardening This thread Refback 10-24-2016 03:04 PM
Butterflies in Winter - Birds and Blooms This thread Refback 10-14-2016 12:14 PM
Butterflies in Winter - Birds and Blooms This thread Refback 03-23-2016 08:58 PM
Butterflies in Winter - Birds and Blooms This thread Refback 01-05-2016 06:52 PM
Butterflies in Winter - Birds and Blooms This thread Refback 12-23-2015 06:40 PM
Butterflies in Winter - Birds and Blooms This thread Refback 12-12-2015 06:02 PM
Butterflies in Winter - Birds and Blooms This thread Refback 12-08-2015 09:15 AM
Butterflies in Winter - Birds and Blooms This thread Refback 12-05-2015 07:59 AM
Butterflies in Winter - Birds and Blooms This thread Refback 12-04-2015 10:56 AM
Butterflies in Winter - Birds and Blooms This thread Refback 12-03-2015 10:45 PM
Butterflies in Winter - Birds and Blooms This thread Refback 12-03-2015 07:26 AM
Butterflies in Winter - Birds and Blooms This thread Refback 12-03-2015 04:13 AM
Butterflies in Winter - Birds and Blooms This thread Refback 12-03-2015 12:59 AM
Butterflies in Winter - Birds and Blooms This thread Refback 12-03-2015 12:43 AM
Butterflies in Winter - Birds and Blooms This thread Refback 12-02-2015 10:33 AM
Butterflies in Winter - Birds and Blooms This thread Refback 12-02-2015 10:12 AM
Variegated fritillary chrysalis This thread Refback 08-30-2015 12:27 PM
Butterflies in Winter - Birds and Blooms This thread Refback 02-27-2014 01:13 PM
BUTTERFLIES - PAPAGO - Virginia Beach Gas Prices This thread Refback 11-28-2013 10:54 AM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:35 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.3.2