Searching for caterpillars

To be able to raise butterflies you first need to find the caterpillars (or even better, eggs). Caterpillars may be found by coincidence. However, normally you will have to search with no guarantee of finding what you’re looking for.

I call this search the caterpillar quest. It’s one of the most rewarding activities related to butterflies. Some species are easy to find. For instance, caterpillars of the Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) are common, and easy to recognize. But what about species which are rarer, or use better disguise?

Finding caterpillars is a challenge, a mission you need to complete before getting to the actual phase of raising. And particularly this challenge got me hooked to butterflies. It’s mind cleansing to hit nature with the knowledge on what the caterpillar looks like, what plant it feeds on and where that plant can be found.

You’ll often have to accept defeats before getting lucky. However, the rush you’ll get once you find the object you were after is well worth the effort.

This section, the caterpillar quest, is about my attempts to get lucky. It will also be about failure, and hopefully sometimes about finding caterpillars of species I was not expecting to find.

To share my learning I will provide knowledge and tips to find caterpillars on your own. Some posts will focus on introducing caterpillar hotspots in a series of photos, also showing from the distance what signs you need to recognize.

Give it a try…

If you want to try raising caterpillars why don’t you start with a species that is common and easy to find? Try Small Tortoiseshells since their food plant, nettles, are also easy to obtain.

Source: The Butterfly Playbook

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