The WyoBio Minute


Episode 11: Insect Freeze

Original Air Date: 04/05/18 07:28:pm

Image by: Ahh-Yeah via Flickr

Wyoming’s all time low temperature was -63°F recorded in 1933 in Moran. So it may not surprise you that Wyoming insects have some truly improbable methods for dealing with cold. Although freezing would be a death sentence for most creatures, for the mourning cloak butterfly,  it’s a way of life. You’ve probably seen these dark winged beauties with yellow edged wings and blue spots. They over winter as adults beneath the snow and are among the first to emerge in spring. Gradual freezing is key - So instead of resisting the cold, they allow ice to slowly grow until they’re completely frozen. Although you might think that insects, like the mourning cloak butterfly should leave for warmer places, they stick it out during cold Wyoming winters Perform incredible feats of survival. Look for mourning cloaks on the first warm day of spring. With your WyoBio Minute I am Kennan Owen.