Overwintering Energy Strategies of Butterflies

Here in the mid-Atlantic area, winter temperatures can fluctuate wildly, from bone-chilling sub-zero weeks that never end to strings of balmy 60-degree days that fool forsythias into bloom.  How do overwintering butterflies cope with these swings, especially when they overwinter as adults or caterpillars that become active during the warm spells and risk losing fat resources to carry them through the rest of the winter?  A PhD thesis by Caroline Williams at the University of Western Ontario gives some clues …

Williams, Caroline M., “Overwintering energetics of Lepidoptera: the effects of winter warming and thermal variability.” (2011). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. Paper 323.

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