Monday, May 31, 2010

Fly the Flag

Gentlemen, kindly purchase a pair of England car flags, carefully spray the red cross purple, and fly them boldly during the forthcoming Emperor season. We must come out...

Larval Doings 30th May

Located seven of the larvae I've been following in the Wiltshire woods and, incredibly, also found one that was last seen in mid September. Four of these eight were about half way through the final instar, the other four were skin changing into the final instar.

They are getting increasingly hard to follow, due to their increasing mobility - one had moved 5m! They seem to be venturing up the trees - some are only visible through binoculars. However, I am now fairly certain that there was a pulse of predation during that cold second week of May: three vanished then, whilst skin changing (into 4th instar), and have not been refound.

My guess is that the butterfly should start to appear at the very end of June, but much depends on how long it takes them to pupate - which is weather dependent. Watch this space...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Larval Progress, 24th May

Checked 9 wild iris larvae in stultifying heat (optional clothing weather). One had recently changed into the final instar and 2 more larvae were skin changing into the final (5th) instar. The rest were all in the mid 4th state apart from one laggard who is in the early 4th state.

6 had moved distances of between .4m to 2.2m, and I couldn't find one who must have gone >3m (will check again). They are feeding strongly in this fine weather.

What does this mean? We're probably on for a late June emergence but much depends on how long it takes them to pupate, which is weather influenced, and June weather generally.

Some of my captive larvae are more advanced, mid way through the final instar, but I will be putting most of these out in the wild soon, to stand a chance of finding pupae.

Watch this space, we should be able to predict the start of the 2010 flight season quite accurately...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Latest Doings

In the wild, iris larvae have largely gone into their 4th instar, though some late ones were held up whilst skin changing by last week's cold weather. The more advanced ones are heading towards the final skin change - they will be feeding up fast in this warm weather. I am having problems keeping track of these big boys as they are quite mobile - one has travelled 3m. Also, and worryingly, I may have lost a couple of larvae that were skin changing, presumably to tit predation - either that or they went trucking big time the moment they changed skin (and I failed to find the cast skin).

Thank you to everyone who voted Purple at the general election. We are forming a coalition goverment with the Ulster Unionists...


Sunday, May 2, 2010


Rejoice, Oh ye of little faith, for that which was lost is found, and that which is found wasn't lost in the first place, it's just that I missed them ... . I am delighted to say that today I re-found three wild iris larvae that were lost last autumn when, in unseasonally mild weather, they forsook the leaves and went in search of hibernating quarters. Two of them I searched for, twice and thrice respectively, during the winter. Lord knows where they were*. Thus was a perfectly vile day well spent.

One of the monitored wild larvae has changed into the 4th instar and at least 6 others are in the process of skin changing. All bar one have been feeding well - there is still one runt which may or may not be alive. It has coloured up well but has not fed yet. Odd.

And don't forget, on Thursday, wearing one sock only, Vote Purple! One or two people have complained that the Purple Manifesto is too serious - they're missing the point: it is serious... .

* The Lord does know, but is not letting on, at least not to me.