Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Larval Progress Update

Despite the late spring and generally poor May iris larval progress is well within the band of normality - i.e. they are currently in the late 4th / early 5th instar stages.  Some decent weather is forecast for the start of June, which means many should be full grown by around June 7th. 

At this range the first males should appear in the 'early' sites at the end of June and the bulk of emergence will occur during early July - BUT so much depends on weather during the pupal stage (June).  They can shoot through the pupal stage in a little over 2 weeks or get stuck in it for over 4 weeks, as happened last year. 

Watch this space.  Meanwhile, here's one of my captive larvae -

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Latest Doings

Currently, iris larvae are changing skins into their fourth instar, or have just changed.  The weather's invariably vile when they do this... .  Incredibly, they are actually a little ahead of where they were this time last year, though behind on the previous years which brought early springs.

Meanwhile, the Forestry Commission is proposing to aerial spray a small SSSI wood near Pangbourne, Berks, with Bacillus thuringiensis, which kills Lepidoptera larvae, in order to eliminate Oak Processionary Moth.  The wood is reputed to hold Purple Emperor.  Does anyone know this site - Herridge's & Broom Copses near Pangbourne? 

I am unable to express any views as I'm involved with OPM for the NT, and understand the situation. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Oasis Purple Emperor Dress...

This summer I will mostly be wearing this lovely butterfly wrap dress - 

Our thanks to Annie Palitoy of Burnham on Sea, known in these columns by her true name, Annie Heslop, for spotting it, and wearing it...  Her grandfather would be proud of her.

Britain's premier butterfly strikes again...

(PS all larvae now feeding nicely.  They can catch up very rapidly.)