Monday, April 22, 2013

Out of Hibernation

Wild larvae were checked on Saturday 20th.  All bar one were out of hibernation and greening up, getting ready to start feeding once the leaves unfurl (sometimes the odd hungry one jumps the gun and nibbles a leaf bud before it opens).  The one retard is lined up next to a late-developing leaf bud on a late-leafing tree in a cool location, so must wait a little longer.   

The larva we've been following all winter has moved >2m up to the end of a leaf spray that will open soon.  He has also greened up nicely.  Here he is -

And here's the silk pad he wintered on -

Sallow leaf buds are swelling fast.  Interestingly, most of the trees I'm following larvae on are not going to flower this year, which means they will come into leaf quite soon.  In past years larvae have had to wait ~10 days for the trees to flower, before the leaves open.  Many of the breeding sallows in the forest seem to be having a year off from flowering, perhaps as a legacy from last 'summer'.  I have not noticed this before.

Just because larvae have emerged from hibernation a bit late this spring does not mean that the adults will appear late.  That depends on weather during May, the larval growing month, and June, the pupal period. 

But now is the time to prospect for new iris localities - whilst the sallows are flowering.

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