Wednesday, May 4, 2016

More shadow play

At this time of year, before the canopy becomes dense, it is surprisingly easy to spot purple emperor caterpillars high in the sallows by looking for their silhouettes on leaves illuminated by the sun. Here are two (Śuddhodana and Rāhula) I've found in the last week or so:

As they get bigger and the leaves more pendulous I should be able to get shots of them in the flesh  but for the time being they are only visible when the sun shines.

They are both presumed 3rd instar. At about this time last year I found a 4th instar (Nakula) in the same way:

The caterpillar I followed through last winter (Gautama) is still thriving. He should soon graduate to 4th instar:

In general, caterpillars are fewer and further between than last year but I imagine there are enough, scattered throughout the forest, to carry the species through into 2017 ...


Another, Kanthaka, spotted on 5th May:


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