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A Cold Winter Means Fewer Butterflies This Spring in Florida

It's like some sort of child's fable, or maybe a Virginia Woolf essay. It is both poetic, and a sad reminder of modern woes.

After the coldest South Florida winter in more than 30 years, this spring will see a sharp reduction in the number of butterflies fluttering about.

The Clay Glass Metal Stone Cooperative in Lake Worth usually has an annual celebration that includes the release of hundreds of recently hatched butterflies. But not this year.

"Due to an unusually harsh winter, the butterfly propagators have been adversely effected. Many cocoons did not make it through the cold spells," said Joyce Brown, over email. The gallery's anniversary celebration will take place in early May. "We expect to have butterflies to release, but not the hundreds anticipated."

As the weather warms and more butterflies become available, the gallery will schedule another release this summer.

"The butterfly situation brings home the wide spread influence a short climatic change has on our planet and the life in our area in particular," Brown said. "Without the normal schedule of butterfly hatches our food supply is altered by lack of the seasonal pollination that takes place....and so on down the chain."

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Michael J. Mooney

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