How do Marsh Fritillary larvae survive the cold?

A dead oak leaf rolled into a cylinder, held together with a web
Marsh Fritillary larval web in oak leaves. Photo: Nigel Spring

Kathy Henderson has been keeping a watchful eye on some of the Marsh Fritillary larval webson the Butterfly Conservation Reserve at Alners Gorse

, particularly during this cold spell of weather that followed the unusually warm period at the end of February when the larvae were all so active.

On 11 March, she observed that one of the patches of Devil’s Bit Scabious leaves and old stems has accumulated a layer of oak leaves blown in by the wind. The larvae have woven some of these leaves together to create a sheltered cocoon to hide in until the conditions become favourable again.

View of a fresh Marsh Fritillary from the top

Marsh Fritillary. Photo: Mark Pike

A very interesting observation, and another little bit of knowledge about how wildlife cope with our variable weather.

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