As we’ve been self-isolating our only chance to get outdoors has been our back garden. Thankfully this week has been sunny and it’s given us the opportunity to chill out and try to forget about what’s happening in the world around us right now. We went back to something we used to enjoy so much when my son was younger and spent time Bug hunting in the garden.
We’ve spotted a few butterflies flitting around and with all of my son’s mud excavations, there have been countless worms seen too. But my son made an exciting discovery earlier this week. A beautiful, large, green caterpillar. It was found stretching out on my son’s miniature Christmas Tree we’d planted out a couple of years ago.
I sent a photo to my Dad, AKA Guru Gramps, when it comes to all things bugs, to see if he could identify it for us. He believes that it’s a night-flying moth, possibly a Large Yellow Underwing, but it could be one of a number of species. He thought that it looked more or less full-grown and probably ready to pupate shortly.
You may recall that when my son was a lot smaller we reared a Lackey’s Moth and so we were interested to see what the results of our bug hunting in the garden might turn into this time around.
The next day we went back out into the garden to see if we could find the caterpillar. He wasn’t on the Christmas Tree anymore, but my son found him curled up on the ground.
It looked like my Dad was right. So we found a glass jar (a yoghurt pot would do though), my son shovelled in some soil and leaves from where we’d found the caterpillar and then he gently added the caterpillar as well.
We brought the jar inside and covered the top with clingfilm and used a pin to poke a few air holes through. Then it was time to watch and wait for something to happen.
The next day the caterpillar had hidden under one of the leaves and wasn’t really moving but we could still see him. Then we could see him and it looked as if he (I’ve clearly no idea whether it’s male or female) was burrowing into the soil.
Today we came down and he’s totally disappeared! So he will have burrowed well into the soil to pupate. Now we just have to be patient and wait for a moth to emerge. The Lackey moth took three weeks to emerge, so that gives us a rough timescale and something to look forward to.
Watch this space!