I am no expert photographer, preferring to capture the moment than get a perfectly composed shot. The pictures on my blog are either taken with a compact Canon, a Panasonic Lumix FZ150 or on my phone.

Thursday 30 November 2023

Late Commas

Just to update my previous post. The Comma chrysalis that I found on the outside of my study window emerged on the 11th October. It had been lovely and sunny, but only 10 degrees Celsius and by the time it had fully unfurled its wings and dried out the sun was no longer shining on it. Eventually, it turned head down and settled down for the night roosting on its chrysalis.

That night the temperature dipped to 1 degree Celsius and we had our first frost of the year, but luckily it was sunny again the next day. The sun was low in the sky and it took until 10.30 before the sun reached the Comma. However, at 10.50 it had warmed up sufficiently to fly away. The temperature was 6.8 degrees in the shade.

On the 6th October I found a fully-grown Comma caterpillar on a nettle in the old hen run. This was exceptionally late in the season, as most of the books say that the chrysalises should all have emerged by the end of September.

I picked the nettle it was on and put it in a mesh cage I have under an overhang of the roof. Two days later it was handing from the nettle in a J-shape and on the 10th October it formed a chrysalis. I was intrigued to see if it would emerge a few weeks later if we had mild weather, or if it would survive as a chrysalis until the spring.

Unfortunately, yesterday morning I spotted that it had emerged, but hadn't managed to fully pump up its wings and had perished. It must have emerged on the 26th November, as I had checked that morning and it was still a chrysalis. Over the weekend the maximum temperature had been 6 degrees and it had gone down to -2 at night.

It was sad that it hadn't made it, but interesting nonetheless. As is so often the case, I am left asking many questions. Is it normal for Commas to continue laying eggs so late in the season? Possibly I have just never noticed them before. Or is this a sign of climate change impacting on their behaviour?

All of these pictures were taken with my phone as I was having camera problems at the time!

1 comment:

  1. Hello Nick :=)
    It's incredible that you are seeing caterpillars and butterflies so late in the year in such cold conditions, as since September I haven't seen any. Great captures with your cell phone. It's a shame the Comma did not survive , but you did your best to help it. We should never ever take nature for granted, what may be common to us, in another country where they never see our birds they are considered great beauties, which of course they are, and the more I watch and photograph them the more I appreciate their beauty. Thank you for your visits!:=)
    All the best