Friday, 22 June 2018

Caterpillar Diaries (Part 10)

One of my caterpillars beginning to pupate!
While I've been away in London, I gave my caterpillars to my friend, David to look after. When I gave them to him on Saturday, after showing him the ropes, they were still quite lively. However, as soon as I left them round his, apparently they started acting 'odd'. I told him that they were going through a 5th skin shed. It never happened though, as David reported that he never found any old shrivelled up skin anywhere as the days past by. They weren't eating much and were a lot less active than before. But then he woke up on Tuesday morning to find a brown 'slug' at the bottom of the box. This was a cocoon. My caterpillars are beginning to pupate!

A completed cocoon!
Like a parent missing out on a child's first steps, I felt disappointed to have missed this landmark occasion in my caterpillars lives and guilty to have left them with David at this delicate stage, as if throwing him off the deep end in the world of caterpillar care. I had to instruct him on the phone of what to do, but he seemed to have done a good job when I picked them up when I returned home last night. The pot and the bramble branches are now replaced with egg cartons for them to pupate in with some leaves placed at the top for those still fattening up in preparation. Sadly, one has died for reasons unknown, but there are still plenty that have yet to pupate. A few of them has found themselves a crevice in the cartons to weave a brown sheet of silk over themselves. It seems to take them several hours to complete building the cocoon to the point where you cannot see them inside. Now all I can do is wait and let them metamorphose into adult moths.

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