Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Where Do Butterflies Spend the Night?


At night
most butterflies perch on the underside of a leaf, or
crawl deep between blades of grass, or
into a crevice in rocks,
or
find some other shelter,
and sleep.*

Have you stumbled upon a sleeping butterfly? This Silvery Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis) was sunning himself after 'waking up' and soon flapped his wings a few times and flew away.

Gail

*From FABQ

41 comments:

  1. I sometimes run into sleeping butterflies in the morning, but lately it has been big huge bumble bees resting on all the flower spikes. Especially veronica and agastache. Lovely picture-is it a checkerspot? I don't know my butterflies like I should.

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  2. I always wondered where butterflies went at night! What time do they awaken? I'll have to set my alarm a little earlier!

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  3. Hi Gail. Every now and then I find one just waking up. Spending the nite under leaves must help keep the dew and rain from settling on their wings. I know they are sun lovers and don't like to get wet.
    Marnie

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  4. Gail, I've often wondered that about lots of critters. I've also wondered where they all go during a storm. They hide themselves well!

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  5. I've seen a bunch of those butterflies Gail! They like our Gaillardia! I wonder who that plant was named for?

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  6. Hi Gail, I have never found a sleeping butterfly, but the bumblebees asleep on the echinceas are so sweet. There are tons of them. I am always afraid they might fall off if they get bumped.

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  7. Wow the checkerspot is a beauty! I saw it in my butterfly book while identifying the butterflies I posted about last week. But I have not spotted this one in my butterfly island as of yet... I often wonder where all the winged ones take refuge during the night time and storms also. I would take refuge under one of my Elephant ears! They would make a great umbrella. My butterfly book may give me some answers to more questions such as this but I am too focused in on the pictures to read the darn thing! LOL

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  8. Gail ~ I don't recall ever finding a sleeping butterfly but I, too have found sleeping bees. I'll have to keep an eye out for them in the early morn.

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  9. I've never found a sleeping butterfly, but I hope I do one day. I guess I need to get out into the garden a bit earlier. I find sleeping bees all the time, and they are sweet in their own way.

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  10. great question ~ I've been curious about it too. I've never found a sleeping butterfly, wish I would since I have a heck of a time photographing them and would like a few great pics!! Yours is lovely.

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  11. I'm so glad you posted about this ... I was wondering about it the other day!

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  12. Tina,

    It os a Silvery Checkerspot and their host plant is RUdbeckia! Isn't that a wonderful coincidence since I have a sea of them! I see bees sleeping and love to watch them on the monarda early in the morning.

    Gail

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  13. Rose,

    I think they sleep in so you can, too!
    They don't show up in my garden till the sun is very warm and most of the time not until the afternoon. We could sleep in very late!

    gail

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  14. marnie,

    I read that hard rains are tough on butterflies and I worry that over head watering will damage their sweet wings! But surely can certainly fly to another part of the garden! That's what I tell myself...

    gail

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  15. Linda/gardengirl,

    They must go deep in the shrubbery or under overhangs to keep out of the rain. If you look closely you can see fireflies hiding in the taller grasses until dark...I guess the mammals go to their nests or dens? Do birds roost in trees or hang out in an empty nest?

    Gail

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  16. Dave,
    Now wouldn't it be nice for me to be able to say..it was named for me! The checkerspot is cute and I have just begun to notice them...must be the composite plants they love!

    Gail

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  17. Frances,

    You can pet them while they're sleeping! I did with a gentle little touch...it was so cool! A very gentle touch..they must be dazed from the coolness to tolerate it!

    Gail

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  18. Yes, I've stumbled upon slepping butterflies and it's magical.

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  19. Gail, this is why I love blogging! I find out things I didn't know I didn't know-or had never thought about. :)

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  20. Cindy,

    My favorite horthead! Great minds!

    Gail

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  21. anna,

    Lucky you and lucky butterflies...you are a good garden steward!

    Gail

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  22. Beckie,

    Isn't that the truth! I keep learning which is very good for the aging brain!
    Gail

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  23. cindy, the other one!

    I think the sleeping ones ar kind of hanging there almost upside down or they are pausing on a leaf and then they flap their inwgs a few times to dry off the dew and then they fly away... No wonder people think of fairies when they talk about dew on the wings of butterflies!

    Gail

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  24. kathleen,

    Look for ones hanging upside down from a flower or leaf...early in the morning, that might be one...Good luck with the photos! and post for us to see!

    Gail

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  25. Thanks for answering that question. I have always wondered. I've seen bees sleeping on or in flowers, but I've never seen a sleeping butterfly. Your comment to Rose reminded me of a radio spoof of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood featuring a visit from a jazz musician, who tells Mr. Rogers that he's "stupid" for getting up early, saying "I get up when the sun is warm, usually about 1, 2 o'clock." I guess he was supposed to be a social butterfly. :^D

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  26. Aaack! How did I miss your Birthday! It's the same day as my sister. I hope it was a good one.

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  27. I'd call you Gail-lardia, but there seems to be an implication of bulk in that name that does not describe you in any way! That's a nice photo of the butterfly.

    I've seen those wooden butterfly houses with narrow spaces for them to slip in and shelter at gift shops at public gardens and in some nurseries. I always thought it would be cool to have one, but your link says they don't work! Phooey!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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  28. Annie,

    That is a funny image! Maybe my husband will photoshop my face on a bloom!

    I was disappointed that the houses were more ornamental then functional...I had the same experience with bat houses...We never had a bat! I remember standing below one while trying see into the box with my binoculars! Another funny image for you.

    It is a sweet little butterfly....and he sat so nicely for me. Not like those Black Swallowtails that flit around and hardly stop moving!

    Gail

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  29. Gail,
    Seems with all the rustling around I do in my shrubs that I wake the graceful creatures often. They do not like to get their wings wet and their flight is encouraged by the sunshine. You can count on seeing them come out from hiding when the sun is shining brightly.

    Your checkerspot is not one we see down here... very pretty.
    great post, Gail.
    Meems@Hoe&Shovel

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  30. meems,

    Thank you! How wonderful to be able to shake them awake as you move about the garden...They are late sleepers here and I don't see them until at least noon! Now the bees are up early and work till dark. Hard workers.

    Gail

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  31. Hi Gail! Wow, I've also wondered what butterflies do when we're not looking. They can't fly and be pretty all the time. I guess sleep is inevitable, but how wonderful that you caught him sleeping.

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  32. Hey Gail,
    I'm never up that early in the morning to catch sleeping butterflies, but that's intriguing where they hang out overnight. Now, I've seen plenty of dozy bumblebees since we've been here ... and wow, are we happy that they seem to have returned in good numbers after the flooding we had in June!

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  33. DP,

    I just happened to have the camera, I feel fortunate usually I am not prepared! He's nice little guy!

    Gail

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  34. Hello IVG,

    I haven't seen the classic 'sleeping' butterfly which hangs upside down to rest! The checkerspot was up, but not at 'em when I photographed him. I do have to get outside early to avoid the heat, so I might see the sleeping beauties. The bees are plentiful with all this monarda, coneflower and now the rudbeckia...the bigger bees and the tiny bees not many of the honeybees. How about in Iowa?

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  35. I wondred what happened to the butterflies during the Hurricane that hit us in 2005. Do they sense a coming storm like that one and leave ahead of time. Even we aren't sure which way to run until a Hurricane is nearly upon us, because it can keep changing the place where it is coming ashore. I think insects and birds can sense ahead of time, and seek safer places.

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  36. Gail, I more often find sleeping moths. They hide in some of the same places you mentioned for butterflies. It seems that butterflies are active or at least in the warming up stage when I find them.

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  37. Eve,

    That is a good question...heavy rains can tatter the wings so I have no idea if they were able to survive. That might be a question to ask the butterfly folks. I might have to email Mobot with that one! I hope they sensed the storms and left.

    Gail

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  38. Lisa,

    So the moths sleep in! I do se them sort of lounging about. I really haven't seen many sleeping or waking up...I am paying more attention and even run out to the garden to look! But so far they show up when it gets warmer!

    Gail

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  39. I have yet to run into sleeping butterflies... but have chronicled some sleeping bees in my garden in this post. And I regularly see lightning bugs who appear to be napping on all manner of garden plants throughout the daytime.

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  40. I have yet to see the sleeping butterfly until I have one captured in my latest post.

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  41. There are many perennials that can add to the beauty of any place in a few months, if due care and attention is paid while choosing and growing them.

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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