Cold Weather Butterflies

close up of a mottled butterfly with brown, tan and grey colors

Even with our recent snap of cold weather, there are some Iowa butterflies that stay around through the winter. These include the morning cloak (Nymphalis antiopa), question mark (Polygonia interrogationis) and the comma (Polygonia c-album). The metabolisms of these hardy souls slow down and they hide in sheltered areas, such as under loose tree bark and in brush piles. On mild, sunny winter days, they venture out to find sweet tree sap that melts in warmer weather or other nourishment. Look for them sunning themselves on rocks or clinging upside down in the sun on the side of a tree.

Photo caption: Polygonia interrogationis