Monday, March 14, 2011

First butterflies of spring

A worn and tattered Mourning Cloak butterfly, Nymphalis antiopa, rests on oak leaf litter in southern Ohio. This species overwinters as an adult, riding out the winter in sheltered nooks and crannies. Come a decently warm spell, and out they come.

I made a wide-ranging jaunt through southern Ohio last Saturday, when temperatures peaked in the high 60's. One noteworthy ridgetop carpeted with chestnut oak had a small flurry of Mourning Cloaks; perhaps 4 or 5 flitting about. I also saw a first-of-year Comma, another species that winters in its adult form. Interestingly, like the Mourning Cloak, these two species also range broadly across Europe and Eurasia.

The appearance of butterflies is a surefire sign of spring and warmer days.

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1 comment:

Doug Marcum said...

Nice! I didn't know that Commas also overwintered in this manor...good to know!