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Iced caterpillar

Butterflies overwinter in different ways. One of my favorites is the viceroy (the red spotted purple and the white admiral are identical). Viceroys overwinter as a little caterpillar in a half cocoon like contraption they build called a hibernacula. They eat most of a leaf and then build an open-ended silk structure within which they spend the winter. They secure the leaf to the stem to make sure they don’t fall to the ground like other leaves. In spring, when leaves come back out they come back out and resume eating. Looking for these hibernacula in winter can be a fun way to beat cabin fever. We had an ice storm yesterday, so I thought it would be fun to take a pic of a viceroy hibernacula coated in ice. In another month and a half or so, the little caterpillar will be back out and start eating again. (if you look close you can see the little threads the caterpillar used to make sure it stays attached to the stem)