Tuesday 12th May 2020
Well, the weather has changed and today is colder than first thought. I had visited a different lane in my local area. This is one that I first walked down just three days ago. It was certainly a lot warmer then!
But having seen some caterpillars, that I am pretty sure are small tortoiseshell butterfly larvae, I wanted to see if the rain had affected them at all.
I must admit to being surprised to see them all still curled up together on the nettle leaves. Their dark colouring standing out from their green surroundings. Maybe preditors are waiting until they have fattened up. Some are very young; tiny long things that have probably not long hatched out. Maybe the threads they have woven around are protection.
It is only on the larger ones that show the vague beginnings of the tell tales 'eyes' along the lower sides.
As they grow they move onto other leaves and make new webbing. Leaving behind their waste deposits as little black balls hanging in the deserted remnants.

I was also fascinated to see one solitary speckled wood larvae. On my previous visit there was an adult resting on an ivy leaf further up the lane. Though I had to return to do a bit of research before comfirming its species.
It's so gratifying to see butterfly caterpillars in abundance at this time of year. Memories come back of when I was child and it was much more commonplace to find lots of different caterpillar varieties in the garden.