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.