Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The Next Generation

I was really pleased a few days ago to see numerous colonies of Glanville Fritillary Melitaea cinxia caterpillars, venturing out from their cobweb nests to munch on the plantain Plantago in the orchard. I saw colonies at the end of autumn, but with the bad weather in December they seemed to disappear. It's good to see they have managed to overwinter after all. These first generation caterpillars go for the plantain, but later in the year I find the caterpillars more on Speedwell Veronica.



  1. How did they get on with last night's / this morning's frost?
    We had it down to -3C here.

  2. Tim: the photo was taken on 14 Feb. We had frost on 16 & 17 Feb and they were active on 22 Feb. I haven't checked on them today, but I don't expect them to be affected. They will just huddle closer to the ground and reinforce the web for protection.

  3. I haven't seen ANY caterpillars yet, and we're further south...perhaps I haven't looked hard enough. I have seen flying insects though, the wasps and bees are getting around. This schizophrenic weather is no doubt as confusing for them as it is for me.

  4. Tammy: I haven't seen any wasps, but bees of all sorts are taking advantage of any good weather. There are plenty of caterpillars about too, but they are taking care to be well protected, hidden deep in the base of their host plants. Also lots of ladybird larvae and adult beetles hiding in the soil ready to emerge into the sun.