Some people do cuticle care …

… but I do caterpillar care!

What with this year being quite poor for moths so far, I have been since been focussing on learning more about caterpillars. After all, they are still moths … albeit young’uns. One of the best ways to do so is to raise them up into adults at home. Additionally, by looking after caterpillars, I am also learning about (and improving my) plant identification as they can be quite specific about what they feed upon. Below is an update on each of the caterpillars in my care.

  • Green unidentified (aka Jade): unfortunately died, no known cause.
  • Small brown unidentified (aka Fusspot): also died – appearance of small insects suggests it had been parasitised before it came into my care.
  • Garden Tigers (aka Fluffies 1, 2, 3): after a period of eating (and pooping) energetically, they have recently gone very sluggish. I hope that they are about to pupate.
  • Brown-tail (aka Arnold): was sluggish for a while, and spun itself a cocoon earlier this week.

I also have some recent additions to the family.

  • Lackey (currently no name): found on Thursday evening at Lorton Meadows Nature Reserve. It was evidently good timing as it then spun itself a cocoon overnight on Friday. Interesting to note, in some text I was reading about this species, it says that the caterpillars are gregarious (i.e. hang out together) and on plants such as blackthorn/hawthorn. Whereas this individual was found by itself, on oak!
  • Emperors (x12, no names): given to me by a wonderfully inspiring couple in Herefordshire – their adults had managed to hatch and mate without them noticing, resulting in many eggs! So they have given me some early instar caterpillars (an instar is a stage in a caterpillar’s growth).

In other news:

  • I was interviewed on BBC Dorset about the kestrels at Lorton Meadows.
  • Still no further responses from Red Magazine or the Radio Times.
  • I visited the Gloucester motorway services this weekend. This is actually more interesting than it sounds, as the services have been built with the local landscape in mind – read more about them here. Plus, the services have farmshops, which was extra pleasing as I found a cheese in there that I love but have only ever found at one other deli (all the way back in London).
  • My participation in the 30 Days Wild challenge has been going well I think. I’ve definitely been enjoying it!
  • My South African wildlife ID quiz for the A Focus On Nature Facebook page didn’t go down well – in hindsight, I’ve realised that it was uni exam season, so I shall repost it another time.
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