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Where do the butterflies go?

Leaf-like Comma

Britain has 58 types of butterfly, where do they go? Nine spend the winter as an egg; 32 spend it as a caterpillar; 11 get through as a chrysalis; and six winter as fully grown adults.

Peacock in winter

All the 11 browns, for example, from the Meadow Brown to the Gatekeeper, overwinter as caterpillars. The five whites, from the large white to the green-veined white, winter as a chrysalis, The very colourful Small Tortoiseshell, the Peacock and the Comma – all spend the winter as fully grown adults. It is thought that the y choose different stages to overwinter in order to dissipate the competition come spring. Close cousins, the Adonis and the Chalkhill Blue, both inhabit chalk downland and both caterpillars need the same food: Horseshoe Vetch.. By overwintering as a caterpillar the Adonis gets to eat the early vetch, whilst the Chalkhill Blue winters as an egg and needs the vetch about 6 weeks later. – when the Adonis has become a chrysalis.

Peacock open wings

Comma butterfly

Brimstone on leaf

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