Thursday, 5 June 2014

High school

The Establishment for Young Emperors here is thriving, with the caterpillars shedding their skins for the second time - KS2? - and celebrating by moving up into high school. This is a very large plastic storage box which dwarfs their original home in an empty ice cream carton. I cannot deduce their mood but they are exploring its wide open spaces vigorously.

These will be needed because the catties are voracious eaters and will expand greatly before forming pupae in late July, if all continues to go well. Penny is pleased too because the school has migrated from our kitchen to the shed.

New home with London bus for scale

Like Sir Ernest Shackleton, I have yet to lose a man - or caterpillar. There were 24 eggs laid by the brood's magnificent mother - see earlier post here - and there are 24 catties in the box. It will be a little colder in the shed and I will monitor their progress there and hope that the change isn't upsetting. But it will bring them closer to their natural life timetable which the warmth of indoors threatened to accelerate.  Once safe in their pupae, additionally wrapped in cocoons of rough silk, they should sleep until their hatching time in April and May next year.

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