Sunday, June 10, 2012

State of Play...

This weekend I checked 3 wild larvae in & around Savernake Forest, N Wilts (I found an extra one that was last seen in November - Lord knows where it had hibernated as I looked for it three times during the winter).  All 3 were mid way through the final instar.  They need a few more days feeding before they're able to pupate - and progress in this wet weather will be painfully slow... . 

The butterfly is highly unlikely to emerge here before early July (unless the second half of June is seriously good).  But iris emerges later in N Wilts than in some other parts of its range, and it may well be that some larvae in Surrey & Sussex pupated before the weather collapsed at the start of flaming June - so the butterfly may appear there in late June.  Last year, the butterfly appeared in Surrey two weeks before it started at Savernake.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, 2 of my captive larvae started to pupate today and the others look fully fed and ready to go down.  They seem to be a little ahead of their wild counterparts (but I put a rain hood over the sleeve in really wet weather). 

Here's one taking a near-final meal -

And here are my kittens, Wizzy and her partner in crime Matilda -

Plug:  The July issue of BBC Wildlife magazine (out now) has a feature on Iris by me.  Hope you like it...

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