WDEL Blog: Eclectic Hobbies with Allan Loudell

Since Sandy... early end to Butterflies

Sometimes the butterfly season extends well into November, especially in southern Delaware and south Jersey. Not so much this year.

So, the butterfly season - which began about two weeks early - also ended early. Don't misunderstand. I've seen one or two Monarchs flying south on a 55-degree afternoon. Other observers in coastal areas from Jersey to Long Island have spotted Common Buckeyes, Orange Sulphurs, etc.

But ever since Hurricane Sandy, we've had very few sunny days where temperatures have rise above 60 or 65 degrees.

Still, if butterflies don't go through a hard freeze, some can live as adults. So if we ever get a 70-degree-plus, sunny day between now and the end of the year, you can still look for them as you take your walk or do a little jogging.

A few species - such as Question Marks, Eastern Commas, and Mourning Cloaks - overwinter as adults and can emerge on an unusually warm winter day.

But, for many lepidopterists, this is the time to look for winter moths on a warm winter night. Most display fairly subdued colors, but some of the wing patterns can be quite intricate on close examination. In the ultimate display of a gender bias by Mother Nature, some of these species feature flying males and wingless females.

Posted at 6:42pm on November 20, 2012 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Mon, Mar 18, 2013 11:24am
just saw from Mexico that his winter's population is 60% down. Only 40% of the number of hectares normally covered by Monarchs is inhabited... This is the largest drop ever recorded. Could Hurricane Sandy have wiped out the migrating population? The report I read was blaming lack of milkweed in the North East due to development.

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 12:55am
I was saddened to see my fruit trees are blooming right on schedule with the calendar (always 15 days after equinox) but without a bee in sight, thanks to us being the recipient of constant Canadian air....

I hope some pollination occurs since cross-pollination is a must. I'm sure it must affect commercial growers as well...

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