Monday, 15 August 2011

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

I always thought that the very hungry caterpillar was green with a red head. In out garden, however, they are definitely orange and black stripped!

Back in June I blogged about the fact that I'd seen three new species of moth and butterfly in the garden and that I thought allowing an area of the garden to go "wild" was partly responsible. Well one of those species was a Cinnabar moth and I knew that their caterpillars love ragwort of which there is a lot now growing wild in the garden. So every time I've gone into the garden I've been checking the ragwort for caterpillars.

On the 28th of July I saw the first Cinnabar caterpillars we have had in the garden. They were tiny. Most were less than a 1cm in length and although I used the macro lens adapter they were just too small for decent photos. By the 1st of August (when the photo in this post was taken) though they were huge! Most were now about an inch long and fat. I can't imagine how much ragwort they must have eaten in just 4 days to grow so much. Very hungry caterpillars indeed!

Not only did they grow fast but there was a lot of them. Hopefully next year rather than seeing one rather scratty Cinnabar moth we will have lots flitting around the garden.
16 August 2011 at 07:48 , GB said...

Presumably the answer is 'a lot'. It's a fascinating world. I bet their food to size speed conversion rate is a lot faster and more efficient than that of humans!

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