Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Not a great fan of Halloween, but its a case of you can't beat them, join them. And then beat them!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Into Hibernation

Purple Emperor larvae are now starting to enter hibernation (or diapause if you prefer). They have been changing colour and journeying off into hibernation somewhat earlier than normal, simply because they are ready. The foliage is also yellowing early, and they are in sync with it.  

The problem, for me, is that when the weather's warm they travel metres before conking out, rather than centimetres - which means they take ages to locate. Every late October I pray earnestly for miserable cold wet weather, to prevent them from wandering far - and every late October I get a heatwave. I feel like Job.    

Here are some larvae from last weekend (Savernake and Sussex):- 

This one is ready to hibernate, sitting in the curled leaf tip when moisture (fog in this case) gathers. They are often semi-aquatic like this.

This one was making exploratory journeys up-stem, before chickening out and returning to his withered (but silked on at the petiole) leaf.

This one is just starting to change colour, and has spun a massive silk highway all the way up the leaf midrib.

I still need to report on my trips to Holland and Catalonia, versus larvae. Holland was terrific: iris is seriously on the march there, colonising Salix cinerea carrs and fens. More anon.