Caterpillar Update

An update to my previous post: ‘Lifecycle’.

With the help of no less than George McGavin … Dr George McGavin, that is … television personality and, more importantly I believe, Honorary Research Associate at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History … we have ( well … George has ) identified Karla as a Ruby Tiger Moth.

Here is the latest image of her …..


The latest image … and the last, I have to say. Once it was confirmed that Karla was a native moth who likes nothing better than to be around various herbs ( you’ll remember that we found her as a caterpillar on a rosemary plant ) we decided to release her back into the wild. Well, into our back garden.

I put the tank on the garden table on its side so that Karla could either fly out or crawl out. I realised that there was a chance that she might be predated by a passing magpie or crow, but I reckoned that was no worse than she would have faced had she emerged from that chrysalis in compete freedom. Unfortunately, she seemed quite unmoved – almost immobile – at our attempts to release her, and I thought that once again she was a done-for moth.

But I still kept an eye on her, and from an upstairs window I saw her emerge from the safety of the tank onto the table. But then, instead of admiring the view – or taking flight, she continued to the table’s edge where she teetered for some time before plummeting to the patio. And there she lay for some time – once again, immobile – or deceased.

When I checked on her again, some ten minutes later, she had gone. I can only assume that she recovered sufficient strength to take to the air and seek out a mate. At least, that is what I want to believe – with no mention at all of passing-by crows or magpies looking for a quick snack.

So thanks, Karla. Good luck and thanks for being around. It was great knowing you! 🙂