Does anyone know about hibernating butterflies?

Discussion in 'Butterfly / Moth' started by Danielea, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. Danielea

    Danielea New Seed

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    Do you know what kind this butterfly is?

    Hi: does anyone know about hibernating butterflies?

    I live in Prince George - it is winter here. I found this butterfly in a town hall a few weeks ago. I brought it home - it keeps waking and flying a bit then sleeping, goes towards light areas and then dark...

    Does anyone know what kind it is?
    Whether I can help it anyway...provide colder temperature place or...

    thanks,
    Danielea
     
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  3. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    Can you share a photo of the butterfly? Each species has their own way of overwintering....some overwinter in piles of leaves, some die but their caterpillars live either in the ground or in a chrysalis for the winter emerging as a butterfly when the weather warms up and some butterflies die in the cold but their eggs have been laid where they will be protected so they can complete the process the next spring.
     
  4. Danielea

    Danielea New Seed

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    Hi: i'm new to this forum - I did upload photo but I see it didn't show up.
    I'l do it again.
    My research now indicates it might be a tortoise butterfuly which has a 9 month life-span, it is definitely adult and has now settled back at my sliding glass door where it is most cold.
    I may have a lovely companion until spring.
    I still desire to know how to be around him, i.e. when I close my curtains he opens and gets flustered - I desire to disturb him as little as possible.

    thanks for any info you know

    [​IMG][/URL]
    Butterfly wintering in my home ( photo / image / picture from Danielea's Garden )
     
  5. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    Pretty sure that is a Red Admiral...check these photos out.
    Vanessa atalanta
    The coloring will change depending on whether it's a summer or winter form. They do migrate down here to Texas for the winter, you probably caught one that had gotten confused and lost on it's trip. Personally I would turn it loose and let nature take care of it's own. You might also find out if the local arboretum, zoo or other botanically type facitity has a butterfly house and would like to have it. I don't think you can provide the food and conditions it needs to survive very long :'(

    The Tortoise Butterfly is specifically in the U.K. and is mostly orange with some black
    http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/species. ... olychloros
     



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  6. marlingardener

    marlingardener Happy

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    Toni is right, that is a Red Admiral. We have them in the garden and barn lot right now.
    In fact, when we were taking the cleaned bee frames into the barn, there was a butterfly tucked down between the frames. We left it there, to either move on or overwinter as it preferred.
     
  7. Danielea

    Danielea New Seed

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    Okay - thanks everyone - I didn't think hibernating creatures ate anything so I didn't think that was an issue.
    I've given it some water and it did take some through it's antennae.

    I'll see what is up here for botanical folk.

    thanks again
     
  8. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    A hibernating one won't eat, but that one isn't in hibernation yet. They usually feed along the migration route, hibernating when they get to the southern part of the U.S.

    Your's hasn't eaten since you brought it home so any stored energy it had has been used up. Instead of plain water, try putting some sugar water in a shallow dish in front of it, maybe that will help. But most likely your's isn't slowing down to hibernate, it's dying from lack of nutrients.

    They need flowing sap from trees, fermenting fruit and fresh bird droppings to live on but if they can't find those they will sip nectar from common Milkweed and a few other common flowers.
     
  9. marlingardener

    marlingardener Happy

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    Butterflies are very interesting to watch "eat". They have a long, curly "tongue" that sips nectar and other things that one doesn't want to think about (they actually feed on feces). Sugar water, rotted fruit, and pollen patties that you can get from a beekeepers' supplier are other sources of food.
    I put out rotted banana skins and oranges for our butterflies. Of course, we don't get many human visitors to the garden . . . .
     

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