Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saving Species

Devotees of Radio 4's Saving Species programme will want to know what happened to Oates's wild iris larvae when they became full grown, as it wasn't quite clear from the last broadcast. In brief, they ate him alive: many wandered (0ne moved 9m), and there may have been a tendency to crawl up-tree, and at least one pupating larvae got crunched. Eventually, after hours of searching for pupae on occupied trees, including lying prostrate on the ground staring up into the canopy through binoculars (much to the chagrin of unimaginative dog-walkers, while every other butterflyer was having a great time with Large Blues and Black Hairstreak), he found 3 pupae. That's when his troubles truly began.
First, 'Edward Thomas' pupated and turned into Edwina (for it is easy to sex iris pupae).
Second, 'Sara Coleridge' pupated and transmogrified into Samuel.
Finally, 'Ted Hughes' pupated and became Sylvia Plath (Hughes's first wife). She emerged on 15th July, and is featured above (this photo was taken approx 5m up a sallow tree).
Someone else can crack the pupation habits of Apatura iris... I have had enough... .

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