Thursday, 7 April 2016

Here we go again

Further to my last post about the two Emperor moths hatching: the male spiralled off into the skies of Walthamstow on release yesterday but the female flew only a couple of yards to a fence where she remained all day. Come evening, there was no sign that she had attracted a male in spite of staying at her post through alternating sun, drizzle, heavy rain and even hail, all of which took their toll.

So we boxed her up again and released her in Thrupp this morning. Again, she went only a short distance and is now perched on a wall. I will check for suitors during the day but meanwhile, on examining the four remaining cocoons (and finding it impossible to tell which two are now empty), I discovered these, below. Whether they are fertilised or not, I do not know, but she spent some hours in the box with the male. He was from the same mother as she was, but I do not know if this makes a difference. Advice and experience always greatly welcome, though I'm not sure I've got the time to raise another family, so may tuck the eggs away in a hawthorn hedge.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon


  1. I find that the females will readily lay eggs after copulation, but prior to that they will only shed eggs when close to death. Your eggs also have a brown hue rather than pale blue, so I think they are fertile.

  2. Thanks very much Peter; I'll keep my fingers crossed. All best wishes, Martin

  3. I've made the mistake of leaving two cocoons together, as well. They didn't hang around - I seem to remember she mated before her wings were dry. The caterpillars like bramble or heather (and a load of other stuff, as well).

  4. Thanks Andy. I'd read about the incredible mating urge too. What a strange life cycle, especially for one that has spent four years pupating! I reared my last lot on hawthorn cos it was convenient and they seemed happy. All v best M


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