One of the most fun parts raising butterflies is defining the seasonal goals and setting the target caterpillars to be found during the coming butterfly season.
Season targets become the base for the compelling challenge of the caterpillar quest. During winter time one can either look back to analyze the previous season, or take a look ahead towards the next.
Planning a season requires some reading and studying. Set yourself realistic targets! How widespread is the desired species in your region? Furthermore, please respect protected species and any law and regulations related to nature where you live.
I’ve done my studies, and now I’m going to reveal my season 2014 caterpillar targets. Summer will show how many of these caterpillars (or occasionally even eggs or pupas) will be found. But that’s not all, the ultimate goal is to raise these caterpillars to see them hatch as adult butterflies, and unveil the beauty of their wings.
Caterpillar targets for summer 2014
Entries below contain following information:
- English name* (Latin name), expected caterpillar time (in Finland), difficulty of finding, (link to wikipedia for details)
(* = Species I’ve never raised/found before.)
- Common Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni), May-July, easy (wikipedia)
- European Peacock (Inachis io), May-July, easy (wikipedia)
- Comma* (Polygonia c-album), May-July, medium (wikipedia)
- Mourning Cloak* (Nymphalis antiopa), June-July, medium (wikipedia)
- Old World Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), June-August, medium (wikipedia)
- Silver-washed Fritillary* (Argynnis paphia), May-June, difficult (wikipedia)
- Purple Emperor* (Apatura iris), May-June, difficult (wikipedia)
- Scarce Tortoiseshell* (Nymphalis xanthomelas), June, difficult (wikipedia)
- Privet Hawk-moth* (Sphinx ligustri), July-August, easy (wikipedia)
- Small Emperor Moth* (Saturnia pavonia), June-August, medium (wikipedia)
- Eyed Hawk-moth (Smerinthus ocellatus), July-August, medium (wikipedia)
These 11 species are my primary targets. In addition, caterpillars of several other butterflies and moths may be considered as keepers if found. Nevertheless, caterpillar quests will mainly be planned in regard to species listed above.
When the season is about to begin I will also add a page for statistics. That page will follow the success and hits, and also track attempts with no results.
Give it a try…
There is two major questions to be answered before starting the search for caterpillars: When and where. Searching at the wrong time there won’t be any caterpillars around. And searching at the wrong location you will only get disappointed. Learn about species from books or the web, and you’ll increase your chances to get successful on your quest.
Source: The Butterfly Playbook