Only one of the Emperor Moth caterpillars had pupated by the time we went on holiday so the tank of caterpillars came along on holiday with us ( much to husband's disgust!!). About twenty pupated whilst we were away and there are just a few caterpillars left now on the verge of pupating.
The pupation process is fascinating to watch. The caterpillar stops eating and moving around before slowly spinning a cocoon (which looks rather like brown candle-floss) around itself. The caterpillar appears to shrink in size and curl itself up. Gradually over the course of a few days the cocoon hardens and becomes more solid.
These caterpillars started spinning the cocoon last night and this is what they look like this morning.
I've provided twigs propped up to encourage them to pupate away from the floor of the cage but unfortunately most are pupating on the floor of the cage in amongst bramble leaves. They also seem to have the habit of pupating alongside each other. I suspect this caterpillar is about to join them.
Here's one that did get it right - this is the one that first pupated before we went on holiday.
I'll place them all in a predator proof container and leave them in the garage to overwinter. If all goes well the adult moths should emerge next Spring.
I haven't had chance to put out the moth trap since we returned from holiday but I did find this Cabbage Moth in the garage last night (new for year)
I also saw my first Green-veined White in the garden yesterday laying eggs on my sweet peas!
Whilst we were away I treated myself to a rather lovely mug covered not only in butterflies
but moths too :)
I'll try and do another post on the holiday later today covering a visit to Tyneham and Lulworth Cover/Durdle Dor together with a rather special visitor to the cottage garden!