The single, wild purple emperor caterpillar I am following this year (Gautama) survived the winter, nibbled a bit of the buds he hibernated on, then moved to new leaves about 60cm away. The feeding season is under way.
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Following on from recent posts: I am very pleased to report that to my knowledge the pictured specimen is the first, 4th consecutive generation (i.e without diapause) adult Apatura ilia specimen that has EVER been produced. And what a beauty he is. This species has now been continually in active culture since 15.04.15, meaning that this 4th generation specimen has elcosed just 9 days short of a full calendar year. I think it is safe to say that this species can therefore to cultured year round, if conditions are significantly optimised. I also have another 6 females to follow (all in the ideal window of about 7 days delay), so will soon hopefully be aiming for generation 5!
I was sorry to read Matthew's post about wintering larvae in Savernake. As I have been following just one caterpillar this winter it's all or nothing for me, so far as hibernating statistics are concerned. And at the moment, Gautama is still doing fine. These two pictures show him on 12th February and then today, 6th April, just days away from his first meal of 2016:
He first hibernated on a grey branch somewhere (he went completely grey, then wandered off, back in November) and then relocated to this twig at the end of 2015. He has moved less than 1 mm since!