Watch your step

Sometimes finding caterpillars is pure luck. A couple days ago I was looking for caterpillars of the Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa). While browsing through its habitat I was really close to placing my foot on the wrong spot.

On a field with plants coming up to the waist I tried to reach a bush of willow. Luckily, I kept my eyes on the ground. Right on my path there was a brownish caterpillar. After I found ground for both of my feet it only took seconds to identify the species. It was a Lesser Marbled Fritillary (Brenthis ino).

Earlier this summer I tried a couple times to find caterpillars of the Lesser Marbled Fritillary, with no results. This finding was pure coincidence. I grabbed the caterpillar for raising it at home. After only 1.5 days it already pupated. This is my first butterfly of the fritillaries I’ve ever been able to raise.

I’m definitely looking forward to see this one hatch, even though it’s a small species. And the golden spots on the chrysalis are amazing. Even on a close-up it looks as the pupa would be equipped with real gold. The adult butterfly, in the gallery below, is an individual from last summer, just to show the approximate looks.

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