Thursday, April 17, 2014

Worn But Not Worn Out

Notice the ragged edges of this Eastern Comma  (Polygonia comma) indicating this is an overwintered adult - 04/17/2014
We've waited patiently, in Indiana, for a reluctant spring to appear.  This week's snowfall put another damper on our expectations, but today spring returned with a bright sunny day and nature resumed her march toward renewal.  The wildflowers are emerging, in force, with the skunk cabbage leafing out and Blood Root blossoms bright against the dry leaves of winter. One week ago we had temperatures in the mid-70's and I saw my first butterflies of the season.  Today the butterflies were again flying and sunning themselves on the bark of several trees.  These two butterflies were within a few inches of each other on the same tree.

This Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) also shows the worn wing margins of an overwintered adult -  04/17/2014
Some butterflies overwinter as adults buy hibernating in the hollows and bark of trees.  The advantage of this is that their caterpillars are then able to take advantage of the abundance of vegetation in the spring time.
Some of these butterflies are the Mourning Cloak, Question Mark, Eastern Comma and Red Admiral.  All of these butterflies are now visible in the woodlands of Fox Island Park.