Friday, August 15, 2014

Off with his head

My firstborn, Brahmā, shed his skin in the rain this morning and entered 2nd instar. His skin is visible as a gelatinous mess at his tail and his old head capsule is on the leaf beside him:

Brahmā is a wild caterpillar, living at about 1000m in the Alps. He hatched on 3rd August and passed his first instar almost entirely in the cold and rain - but this does not seem to have delayed this transition. I think 13 days for first instar is normal.

Later in the day he coloured up:



dennis said...

are you finding many larvae?
so far, it is disasterous here; the worst year Matthew and I can remember

Guy said...

Hi Dennis. I've tried to leave a reply twice and have no idea where they've gone. In short, I've found more eggs and cats than usual this year because it's rained almost every day since the beginning of July and there's been nothing else to do. Ours are later than yours, so it's too soon to judge mortality. At last observation (Sunday 17th) 8 of 12 eggs found had hatched, three were heads-up and one had been sucked dry before hatching. Of the 8 cats, five were in first instar two were missing, presumed dead, and only the one was in second instar. I''ve been away for a couple of days so the situation might have changed. I checked for eggs at five discrete sites in the same forest, where I know eggs are laid, and all produced. I'll update with mortality rates at the end of first instar.