The earlier pictures were taken on my wee compact Canon ixus 970IS, which involved sneaking up on the butterflies. This can be very frustrating when they fly off, but very rewarding when they don't!

Since 2012 I have been using a Panasonic Lumix FZ150, which allows me to zoom in to the butterflies from a couple of metres away.



Sunday, 4 August 2019

Comma, Polygonia c-album

On 26th April, while I was watching other butterflies, a Comma landed on a nettle next to me and laid an egg. I marked the spot, so that I could watch the progress of the egg.



Three weeks later, I noticed that I could see the form of the caterpillar inside the egg, so I thought I should pick the nettle stem and keep it in a container, so that I could keep a closer eye on it.

Two days later there was just a little ring where the egg had been. The caterpillar had hatched and eaten its egg shell. I looked under the leaf and there was a little caterpillar, less than 2mm long. I decided to call him Colin the Comma!

I watched the caterpillar grow and change over the next few days.






Sadly, on 11 June I found it lying on the soil in the pot of nettles it had been living on. After careful inspection of the nettles I found a spider on the same leaf that the caterpillar had been living.

I spent hours searching through the nettles at our house close to where I had found Colin and eventually found another Comma caterpillar. This one was smaller than Colin and I think about 4 weeks younger than him. Therefore, I doubt it was a sibling. In the name of equality, I called this one Colette!

On 11 July she was about the same size as Colin had been.

And on 22nd July she turned into a chrysalis. The chrysalis was a beautiful coffee and cream colour scheme, with some amazing shiny silver marks.

On 1st August the chrysalis darkened and started to show the wing markings.

The following afternoon, when I returned home from work there was a Comma butterfly roosting on the side of the net cage. I carefully carried the cage out of the garage and switched on my camera. I slowly unzipped the lid and Colette flew up and out of the narrow gap and away. So, sadly, no picture and no confirmation of whether she was a he or a she!

The egg stage lasted 23 days, the caterpillar 32 days and the chrysalis 12 days. Hopefully, the adult butterfly will hibernate through the winter and be providing a new generation next spring.

3 comments:

  1. I enjoyed seeing this photo series. Well done.

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  2. Gorgeous! I really enjoyed the metamorphosis process of this Comma caterpillar. Besides the egg structure is just amazing. Thank you very much for sharing it!
    Have a lovely day

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