Lesser Yellow Underwing caterpillar (project 21A), 7 Apr 2012

A face that only a moth-er could love!

In an earlier post I introduced “Lesley”, the Lesser Yellow Underwing caterpillar I found in my back yard last month. Since I brought him indoors he’s been devouring elder leaves, growing to an impressive 47mm!

Lesser Yellow Underwing caterpillar (project 21A), 8 Apr 2012

Part moth, part ostrich.

On 8 April I found him with his head buried in the compost I had put in the bottom of his container! The caterpillars of many moth species pupate underground, and this is exactly what Lesley was preparing to do. In the following 9 days he completely buried himself, and made a small ovoid cocoon of silk and compost which he diligently repaired each time I made a hole to look inside! On the evening of 17 April I had another look inside, and rather than a pale caterpillar it was a dark red pupa that I saw!

Lesser Yellow Underwing pupa (project 21A), 18 Apr 2012

Lesley's Makeover

And so, after this photo shoot, I moved him back outside, in a peanut butter jar with compost, a twig to climb on when he emerges as an adult moth, and the all-important Holes In The Lid.

That makes seven pupae in jars under the cotoniaster bush. I am going to be one busy father some day soon.

Project 21A: Lesser Yellow Underwing