red admiral

Boydtd at Boydtd at
Thu Aug 12 17:35:36 EDT 1999

We know that Red Admirals do overwinter here in Ireland sometimes because we 
see them flying occasionally in January or February if the weather is kind, 
but we rarely get reports of someone actually finding them in hibernation.  
Lucille O'Shea's instance is therefore of interest and value.  It has been 
said that that they don't go in for full hibernation as do Small 
Tortoiseshells and Peacocks, but merely a sort of temporary sleep, waking up 
at times during the winter when they feel warm enough.  This must mean that 
they use up energy reserves which they can't easily replace because there are 
few flowers with nectar during the winter, and probably won't survive until 
the spring.  However, some do make it, though an insignificant number 
compared with the thousands which arrive in early summer each year (not so 
many this year).

Trevor Boyd
Butterfly Conservation, Northern Ireland

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