Tag Archives: Peacock caterpillars

The Pink Fingers in the Sky

This is just a quick caterpillar update before I go out to photograph a beautiful blue wildflower that I saw yesterday when it was raining.

I told you that they huddled together at night , probably because they were afraid of the dark but I was wrong.

Peacock Larvae

They stayed in that position all day yesterday and didn’t even wriggle, I was beginning to worry about them.  Had they all taken poison or something?

They behave like they are in a cult but if they are what on earth do they worship?

I needn’t have worried they were having a mass moult.Peacock LarvaeToday they are running all over the place leaving the debris of little, used caterpillar skins in a mess behind them.

Peacock Larvae

Peacock LarvaeThey have changed and what a wonderful transformation it has been.

This is what they looked like before the moult….Peacock LarvaeNow look at them. All bright and shiny in their new skins.

Peacock Larvae

Peacock Larvae

Peacock LarvaeNow I shall have to get them new leaves but I will do that after the blue flower.

Oh poop! There has just been an almighty peal of thunder. Must dash.

How Cute are Caterpillars?

This is just a quick behavioural study of my newest pets.

During the day they scamper from leaf to leaf and frolic like spring lambs in their new home but when evening comes they all cuddle together in a little caterpillar ball.

For warmth? Or perhaps they are afraid of the dark, I don’t know.

Peacock Larvae

Peacock LarvaeDon’t worry, this little one is just like me, an early riser.

Peacock LarvaI took these pictures at six o’clock this morning. They don’t live outside I just took them out because the light was poor in the kitchen.

As  you can see they are getting along fine.

Molasses

Molasses: Dark Treacle.

I have decided to have another go at raising caterpillars.

Raising Treacle wasn’t easy and for a little while I thought that it was going to be a disaster. I made quite a few mistakes. I took late instar caterpillars from the wild and the mortality rate was high and I found that upsetting. Despite those things there were some fantastic moments.

Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshellthe biggest thing was how much that I learned in the process.

The thing that I really wanted to do was photograph the miracle transformation from caterpillar to butterfly and in that I failed so I am going to try again.

Dark Treacle:

Aglais io, used to be Inachis io, some people just say “The most beautiful butterfly in the world.”

You know what a Peacock is don’t you?

Peacock ButterflyThe Peacock’s year is a few weeks behind the Small Tortoiseshell and there are still plenty of caterpillars about, that gives us a second chance to get the pictures.

Finding the animals wasn’t difficult, they make these little tents of silk to hide in while they eat the leaves. I don’t know how well the hiding works, I find that the tents rather draw attention to them.

Peacock Web

Peacock Larvae

Peacock LarvaeI am pleased that I have found small animals, I want to avoid the mistakes that I made last time. These haven’t been exposed to the perils of nature for very long.

Peacock LarvaeAs to building a Molasses-arium I am starting off with my old design. The caterpillars won’t wander while they are this small, they will stay happily on the leaves that I give them but I want to avoid the great escape that will come when they are ready to pupate. I think that I will just have to find and buy a purpose built home for them.

For now they have an old planter that I found in the yard with a little tub of soil in it. The greens will need water to stay fresh but you can’t put them in open water, the caterpillars will fall in and drown.

Molasses-ariumIt is no coincidence that both the species that I have kept have Stinging Nettles as their food plant. I am good at identifying Stinging Nettles and I have a ready supply of fresh leaves.

Molasses-ariumSo that is their new home prepared for now.

Molasses-ariumThe Nettles will wilt immediately but they quickly recover and will stay firm and fresh for a couple of days.

The little animals seemed to like their new home and scampered around exploring.

Peacock caterpillars Peacock caterpillarsThis morning I was pleased to see that they had reorganised themselves into a social group and were seriously eating my nettles.

Peacock caterpillars

Peacock caterpillarsThey don’t seem to have built a tent to hide in and they have no protection if I decide to eat them but I have just had a large plate of delicious new potatoes from the farm shop, they are safe for now.

Coming soon: Peacock Butterflies.

Peacock Butterfly