Kicking off the search

Just a couple days ago I came across the first caterpillars this spring. This has been a good sign to see how far nature’s cycle has progressed, and gave green light to start looking for keepers.

I’ve set myself 11 targets for this season. By targets, I’m referring to species from which I’ll particularly try to find caterpillars and raise these all the way to the adult butterfly. Time to kick-off the caterpillar quest.

Today, I made a first attempt. There wasn’t that much around yet. I found three colonies of Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) caterpillars. In one case the caterpillars just hatched. The small size of these caterpillars indicated it may be too early to look for other species. They may not have hatched yet, or are simply too small to be found.

While I also came across a construction site where my favorite biotope is being bulldozed I checked if there’s any Alder Buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula) around. Alder Buckthorn is the food plant of the Common Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni). The caterpillars were pretty small, but since that piece of forest will be turned over soon, I decided to grab some with me.

Bottom line, with the Common Brimstone caterpillars the first target is accomplished. And there’s finally some life in the terrarium.

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