Spotting Butterflies in Warner Parks

April 15, 2021

Wings of Spring

Early Spring is a time when many of us are focused on spring wildflowers.  But if you look up from the flowers you may see early spring butterflies.  On a warm day in February an Orange Sulphur, Cabbage White, Comma, or Question Mark might be seen.  By Mid-March - Falcate Orange Tip, Mourning Cloak, Spring Azure, and Eastern Tiger Swallowtails have appeared.

Here are a few facts about these early arrivals:

  • Some butterflies, such as the Question Mark, Comma and Mourning Cloak hibernate.
  • A butterfly produces a type of antifreeze called Glycerol and enters a state of suspended animation called *diapause to survive the winter.
  • A Cabbage White, Falcate Orange Tip, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Orange Sulphur, and Spring Azure spends it winter as a *pupa.
  • Host plants vary from species to species but often include hackberry trees, clover, and various plants in the mustard family.
  • Spring Azure uses the blooming dogwood as its host plant

* Diapause is a period of suspended development in an insect, especially during unfavorable environmental conditions.

*A pupa is an insect in its inactive immature form between larva and adult, e.g. a chrysalis.

Want to see more spring butterflies?

  • Plant More Trees. Mourning cloaks and eastern commas rarely feed on flowers, instead preferring the tree sap that starts to run in late winter.
  • Don't mow early spring wildflowers.
  • Provide fruit and nectar feeders.
  • Leave leaf litter.

When you support Friends of Warner Parks you protect and support the habitat of these early spring butterflies. Make a donation, become a member, and volunteer today! You can also check out our Nature Center Programs to learn about butterflies, wildflowers, and other environmental education opportunities.


Spotting Butterflies in Warner Parks

April 15, 2021

Wings of Spring

Early Spring is a time when many of us are focused on spring wildflowers.  But if you look up from the flowers you may see early spring butterflies.  On a warm day in February an Orange Sulphur, Cabbage White, Comma, or Question Mark might be seen.  By Mid-March - Falcate Orange Tip, Mourning Cloak, Spring Azure, and Eastern Tiger Swallowtails have appeared.

Here are a few facts about these early arrivals:

  • Some butterflies, such as the Question Mark, Comma and Mourning Cloak hibernate.
  • A butterfly produces a type of antifreeze called Glycerol and enters a state of suspended animation called *diapause to survive the winter.
  • A Cabbage White, Falcate Orange Tip, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Orange Sulphur, and Spring Azure spends it winter as a *pupa.
  • Host plants vary from species to species but often include hackberry trees, clover, and various plants in the mustard family.
  • Spring Azure uses the blooming dogwood as its host plant

* Diapause is a period of suspended development in an insect, especially during unfavorable environmental conditions.

*A pupa is an insect in its inactive immature form between larva and adult, e.g. a chrysalis.

Want to see more spring butterflies?

  • Plant More Trees. Mourning cloaks and eastern commas rarely feed on flowers, instead preferring the tree sap that starts to run in late winter.
  • Don't mow early spring wildflowers.
  • Provide fruit and nectar feeders.
  • Leave leaf litter.

When you support Friends of Warner Parks you protect and support the habitat of these early spring butterflies. Make a donation, become a member, and volunteer today! You can also check out our Nature Center Programs to learn about butterflies, wildflowers, and other environmental education opportunities.


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