Saturday, 31 May 2014

Day Seven - Max's Turn

I thought Max was looking a bit agitated yesterday evening, he was wandering around and didn’t really eat very much. So this morning we came down to a very unobliging Max who is now a pupa at the bottom of the bowl under many leaves. Hence the reason there are no photos!!

Once number three small tortoiseshell has changed then a big clean out is necessary!!

Friday, 30 May 2014

Day Six - Pupa Number 2

This morning we came downstairs to find our second caterpillar ready to become a pupa..

Small Tortoiseshell Larva - Hanging from a Twig

Unfortunately we had to go out and by the time we came home he looked like this..

Small Tortoiseshell Pupa 2
He would have been in a perfect position for filming the transition too, but never mind next time......well next time we get some caterpillars as we have just noticed that number 3 is in position now, but he is buried under lots of  leaves. Hopefully Max the moth will be more obliging when it's his turn.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Day Five - Our first Pupa

What a spectacle!!! Last night at 1:00am our first small tortoiseshell larva became a pupa.

We didn't manage to capture the moment but it's only our first and we'll know what to expect next time.

He first started to twitch a lot, then a portion of the body at the head end expanded and became covered in a layer of bright green "skin". The next stage was even more dramatic as he was writhing around his body started pulsating and the rear end of his body was severed and dropped to the ground. Then the green skin started to cover more of him totally changing shape and size. It was incredible to witness!!

This morning the bright green skin has turned into a brown/green colour and seems to have dried and hardened.

Small Tortoiseshell Pupa

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Day Four - The next stage already?

It looks like one of the small tortoiseshell larva is assuming the position for the next stage, I can't be sure though.

Small Tortoiseshell - Hanging from Bramble

After spending 4 days munching on nettles, he is now hanging off a bramble which is not their foodstuff. So now we will see how things progress.

Max - The Yellow Tailed Moth to be..

Here are a couple of shots of Max, through glass unfortunately so not the best quality.

Max a munchin'
The rear end

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Painted Lady Butterfly Video

This video was taken by my OH last summer. It's fantastic to see the incredible detail of the butterfly so close up...

Monday, 26 May 2014

Day Two - Poop!

Amongst all the really useful information on the internet about rearing butterflies and moths is the warning that caterpillars poop a lot. They were not wrong, this is from this morning, after just 16 hours from one caterpillar:
The rest of their home was littered with it too, time for a clean out me thinks. They needed fresh leaves as well, so everybody out! We decided to put the stems of the bramble and nettles in water so they would stay fresher longer. Everybody safely back and refreshed. Still munching, still exploring, still sleeping & of course still pooping!!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Day One - New Home

From all our research we found that most caterpillars enjoy nettles, so armed with gloves, scissors and a jar we went off in search of a caterpillar. After about an hour we returned home with 3 yellow and black striped ones and a black, furry caterpillar with white side stripes and an orange/red stripe down his back. I couldn’t believe we even found one let alone four!!

It didn’t take long to find out that we had found 3 small tortoiseshell butterflies and a yellow tail moth.

So we placed our new guests in their new home with their favourite food and let them settle in.

Our new guests residence

The trio of small tortoiseshell larva

Max the moth wasn't available for the photo shoot, so we'll get him next time.

They all started exploring their new surroundings, found themselves a leaf each and started munching away, then it was time for a rest. They all seem pretty content. We can't stop watching them and the magnifying glass is a must! It's fascinating already.