28 February 2012

A butterfly in winter

A few mornings ago, I noticed a Peacock butterfly, or Paon du jour, lying on the ground just outside our garage door as I was opening it to take the car out. I don't expect to see butterflies in February in the Loire Valley.

A precursor of spring?

Of course this one had probably frozen to death. Why it had emerged from its cocoon at this time of year I don't know. Maybe it hadn't — do these adult butterflies hibernate? I'm used to seeing Peacock butterflies in summertime, as in these posts from 2007 and 2008.

By the way, our afternoon temperature is supposed to get up to 14ºC today. That's getting dangerously close to 60ºF, and is digne d'une belle journée printanière.


  1. What a gorgeous creature...... and what a pity its timing was so far off. It looks perfectly preserved.....you should save it.

  2. Ken, yes they do hibernate as adults over winter... once the wings are folded up tight, they are extremely difficult to see in the dark corners they hide in.
    And a lot do die over winter because of the cold.

    The one you found, however, must have woken in the warmth of the sun we've had recently [chose the wrong spot to hibernate] and then been caught by the extreme cold of a frosty night... or else found no nectar to drink to keep fueled up, poor thing.

    The Peacocks tend to be the earliest seen butterflies.

  3. Thanks for that info, Tim.

    Lo, I will save it. I was trying to spread out the wings so all four "eyes" on them would show, but I haven't been very successful.

  4. Your weather is warming. Mine in Australia is about to enter autumn. The good news? I get to try some of your wonderful cool weather recipes.

  5. We were able to grill outside yesterday! I think it hit the upper 50s F, and was really nice and sunny.

  6. Love this butterfly's colors. The comment page is new and different today...in a good way!

  7. I hadn't realized that France had such colorful butterflies! What a honey!

    Mary in Oregon

  8. Butterfly is very beautiful and attractive. You take fabulous photo. In Winter climate is cool and calm. Its really nice.


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