Monday, June 18, 2012

Last supper

Here is a photo of Aurelian yesterday, on the 21st day of his fifth instar:

When I checked on him today he had finally vacated this leaf - his sole home since his last skin change - and, I hope, gone off to pupate somewhere. I will search for his pupa at the end of the week, when it should be easier to spot than a caterpillar on the back of a leaf.

Before leaving he consumed a considerable amount of his seat leaf, including much of the silk he had been using to stick his rear end to the leaf:

Assuming he is now laying himself up for pupation, that was his last supper - ever. Once the process begins he will take no more solid food for the rest of his life. What is in his tummy now has to sustain two to three weeks of pupation followed by two to three weeks of dog-fights and sex, supplemented only by a few vitamins and minerals from fox and beech marten excrement.


1 comment:

irisscientist said...

Although great pictures, I must admit that I don't quite subscribe to the finer "last supper" points in your recent post, for the males of the Apaturinae at least. Data for this however is still in its research/testing phase...but I am pretty certain that as with the males of many other butterfly species, the males of the Apaturinae may still sequester some compounds which eventually form an essential aperitif that are needed in order for the females to ultimately succumb to their intentions! Eventually these beautiful creatures might however evolve (albeit Darwinism gone a bit wrong) into civilized creatures/humans!