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Butterfly Q & A

     
Do butterflies look the same year-round?

   
Many butterflies produce distinct seasonal forms that differ markedly in color, size, reproductive activity and behavior. Good examples within Florida include the Common Buckeye, Barred Sulphur and Sleepy Orange. The seasonal forms are determined based on a variety of environmental cues (temperature, rainfall, day length) that immature stages experience during development. Warm summer temperatures and long days forecast conditions that are highly favorable for continued development and reproduction. Summer-form individuals are generally lighter in color, short-lived, and reproductively active. As fall approaches, cooler temperatures and shortening day lengths mean future conditions may be unfavorable for continued development and reproduction. Winter-form adults are generally darker, display increased pattern elements, larger in size, longer lived, and survive the winter months in a state of reproductive diapause.
     

 


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