Finding Nemo

After spending hours and hours in the greenery searching for caterpillars of the Scarce Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis xanthomelas) I finally found a colony. For the first time I’m now capable of raising the species at home. If you know butterflies you’ll also know how good it felt to succeed on my search.

Here’s some footage, particularly covering the habitat of the species. This hopefully helps others finding caterpillars as well. First, I found an abandoned colony were only feeding traces and old skins were left. No luck finding the actual larva. 15 minutes later I found a second colony where slightly over 30 caterpillars where just in the process of skinning.

Two tips. I found the caterpillars on a species of willow, Salix phylicifolia to be precise. And both colonies were located about 50-80cm above the ground. So keep your eyes low and on young trees/bushes.

Caterpillar track-down

On the quest to finding these caterpillars I’ve been browsing several times through a habitat which I came across this spring. I wrote about that spot already after my first visit this spring. Back then I saw Scarce Tortoiseshells flying almost every time I checked the place. It might also be a good spot to find caterpillars of the Moarning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa).

As already mentioned I found two colonies of caterpillars. One was already abandoned, maybe the caterpillars have moved or already proceeded in the metamorphosis. The photos below introduce the area by narrowing down the exact spots also showing what kind of traces to look for. Just in case this information may be helpful to anyone.

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