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!