Country Corner

Ruby Tiger larva
Ruby Tiger larva

Butterflies, moths, caterpillars; we associate them all with summer.

So where are they now in these dark winter days?

Well, in the case of some caterpillars at least, they are still on their food plants.

Furry caterpillars, such as this Ruby Tiger larva, have good reason for wearing such luxurious coats.

Holding on tight to resist winter gales, they sleep away the worst of the winter.

However, during any unseasonal winter mild spell, they may stir into dozy activity.

In my shed at present there is a hibernating Peacock butterfly in a gauze cage.

The cage is to protect it from spiders, a predator responsible for the demise of many a hibernating butterfly or moth.

In another gauze tent is a section of matted silk cut from a bumblebee nest in one of my bee nestboxes at summer’s end.

These are the cocoons of the Bee Moth, whose larvae live in active bee and wasp nests.

In spring both my Peacock and Bee Moths will awake, as will this wee Ruby Tiger.

The butterfly and moths will be released to fly off and seek their own kind to do what all insects do.

The wee tiger will continue to feed and grow before pupating and turning into a deep plum coloured moth of the sort which proves moths can be every bit as beautiful as butterflies.

So, as you can see, the moths, butterflies and their various caterpillars and cocoons, are still around in winter, in one form or other.