Saturday, May 7, 2011
State of the Nation's Caterpillars
Recent lack of Purple doings due entirely to sublime spring, with definitive emergence of Pearl-bordered Fritillary etc.
Today, I visited and refound all six wild larvae. Of these, four were in the final instar and two were in the final skin change. Two of the four finals (Lot's Wife and Joshua son of Nun) were half way through the final instar. Here's Joshua, feeding.
My nine captive larvae (on a late-leafing tree) are in a similar advanced state.
All this means that the Monarch of All Butterflies is, at this stage, set to take to the air circa 7th-10th June - certainly by mid June - unless the jet stream jumps south (which it may be doing now) and slows them down. This would smash the all-time known record for the earliest purple appearance (though we do not know how early iris appeared in the amazing summer of 1893).
Larvae of other high summer species are similarly advanced. Brother Quercus has largely pupated, Sister w-album is pupating now, and camilla of the woodland rides is full fed and about to pupate.
If you've booked holidays for mid July Think Again...
Watch this space, closely ...