Scarce Swallowtail (life cycle)

biosdr

Scarce Swallowtail (life cycle)

Postby biosdr » Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:03 pm

First of all, the Scarce Swallowtails (Iphiclides podalirius) are protected animal species. It is forbidden to catch them, kill them, exploit their populations or disturb them in any other way. I took 8 eggs and rose its caterpillars only because a female laid them on a young wild peach which had been growing in the middle of a vegetable garden and was going to be cut. I simulated natural conditions for eggs and caterpillars as much I could and no caterpillar died. They are now in diapause as pupae and all will be released to freedom as soon the butterflies emerge in the spring next year.

Day 1 (24.08.2011)
White, spherical and relatively large eggs were laid on the leaves of a young peach (Prunus persica). Each egg on a new leaf.
Iphiclides podalirius (1).JPG
Iphiclides podalirius (1).JPG (68.94 KiB) Viewed 974 times


Day 6 (29.08.2011)
The day before hatching, caterpillars are visible through the eggshell.
Iphiclides podalirius (2).JPG
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Day 7 (30.08.2011)
Caterpillars hatched and ate their eggshells. In this instar they looked like little bird droppings if watched from above. Most of the time caterpillars were resting on upper leaf surfaces and had very short periods when they ate. After eating they returned to their resting sites following their own silk trails. If disturbed, they extruded osmeterium (forked scent defensive gland which caterpillars use to repel predators with its strong odour) on the prothorax (immediately behind the head).
Iphiclides podalirius (3).JPG
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Day 9 (01.09.2011)
Iphiclides podalirius (4).JPG
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Day 10 (02.09.2011)
Iphiclides podalirius (5).JPG
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Day 11 (03.09.2011)
After first molting, caterpillars became greenish with yellow lines and orange dots which was a good camouflage on their host plant (cryptic coloration). They showed very interesting behaviour when crawling. They sway backwards and forwards like a chameleon.
Iphiclides podalirius (6).JPG
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Day 13 (05.09.2011)
Iphiclides podalirius (7).JPG
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Day 15 (07.09.2011)
Iphiclides podalirius (8).JPG
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Day 21 (13.09.2011)
Iphiclides podalirius (9).JPG
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Day 22 (14.09.2011)
Iphiclides podalirius (10).JPG
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Day 23 (15.09.2011)
Iphiclides podalirius (11).JPG
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Day 31 (23.09.2011)
Few days before pupation caterpillars became yellowish and began with search for their pupation site.
Iphiclides podalirius (12).JPG
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Day 33 (25.09.2011)
The caterpillars pupated. They will overwinter as pupae which are supported head upward by a thin silk girdle. This pupae are brown and the summer pupae are green. Researches have shown that colour is regulated by light period.
Iphiclides podalirius (13).JPG
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Iphiclides podalirius (14).JPG
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Day __ (spring 2012)

(30.06.2009)
Iphiclides podalirius (15).JPG
Iphiclides podalirius (15).JPG (92.92 KiB) Viewed 974 times


(05.08.2010)
Iphiclides podalirius (16).JPG
Iphiclides podalirius (16).JPG (96.77 KiB) Viewed 974 times




Dean
Last edited by biosdr on Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Scarce Swallowtail (life cycle)

Postby Gibster » Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:46 pm

Absolutely lovely, brilliant pics! Video to folllow? Thank you for sharing a tiny part of your butterfly fauna with us :)

Gibster.
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Re: Scarce Swallowtail (life cycle)

Postby Padfield » Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:09 pm

Agreed! Fantastic stuff!

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Re: Scarce Swallowtail (life cycle)

Postby David M » Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:49 pm

Great stuff again. All this is making me keen to try my own hand.

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Re: Scarce Swallowtail (life cycle)

Postby Nick Broomer » Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:07 pm

I totally agree with the above comments.

I`m fairly new to all this, but learning all the time thanks to the good reports by the members of this webb site, but can someone explain what an instar is.

Thanks in advance,

nick

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Re: Scarce Swallowtail (life cycle)

Postby Rogerdodge » Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:20 pm

An instar is the period between shedding of the skins to allow growth.
The first instar is from hatching to the first shedding, second instart is from the first shedding to the second and so on.
Cheers

Roger

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Re: Scarce Swallowtail (life cycle)

Postby David M » Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:21 pm

hideandseek wrote: but can someone explain what an instar is.



When a caterpillar sheds its skin due to it increasing in size it embarks on a new 'instar'.

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Re: Scarce Swallowtail (life cycle)

Postby Padfield » Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:23 pm

Caterpillars grow but their skin doesn't (like all insects, they wear their 'skeleton' on the outside). As they get bigger, they fill up their current skin until it can cope no more. At that point they stop feeding and grow a new, larger skin inside the old one. When it is ready, they shed the old and continue growing into the new. The stages between skin shedding are called instars. Different species go through different numbers of instars before pupation.

Hope that helps.

Guy

EDIT - sorry David and Roger - our posts overlapped.
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Re: Scarce Swallowtail (life cycle)

Postby Padfield » Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:40 pm

Last year I watched several wild purple emperor caterpillars pass through their skin changes. It is a remarkable process. This is Nero during the non-eating phase, while he grows his new skin and new head parts! He seems to be smiling serenely and you can see the new skin beneath the old.

Image

That head is fake and hollow - incapable of feeding. Just two days previously he looked quite different:

Image

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Re: Scarce Swallowtail (life cycle)

Postby Vince Massimo » Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:48 pm

biosdr wrote: I simulated natural conditions for eggs and caterpillars as much I could and no caterpillar died. They are now in diapause as pupae and all will be released to freedom as soon the butterflies emerge in the spring next year.


That's the way to do it Dean :mrgreen: , lots of photos and lots of data. I would love to see the colour of the pupa just before hatching.

I am also very pleased to see that your country has had the sense to legally protect some of it's butterflies, not all of them do.

Keep up the good work :D

Cheers,
Vince

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Re: Scarce Swallowtail (life cycle)

Postby Nick Broomer » Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:56 pm

thanks everyone thats a great help. Padfield, lovely pictures. it seems i have a lot to learn, but i`m sure i`ll get there if i keep reading your forums, which i will.

thanks again,

nick

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Re: Scarce Swallowtail (life cycle)

Postby Lee Hurrell » Sun Oct 09, 2011 7:09 pm

Fantastic stuff once again, Dean.

It's also lovely to see a series from a species I'm not that familiar with - I've seen the adult butterfly, but had no idea what the immature stages looked like.

Looking forward to the next series!

Best wishes,

Lee
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Re: Scarce Swallowtail (life cycle)

Postby Pete Eeles » Sun Oct 09, 2011 7:31 pm

Dean - it would be great (if you're willing!) to get your images also posted in the species-specific albums. From there, we can pull images onto the main species pages.

Some guidance here: http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/gallery_guidelines.php

and the albums here: gallery/album.php?album_id=160

Cheers,

- Pete

biosdr

Re: Scarce Swallowtail (life cycle)

Postby biosdr » Sun Oct 09, 2011 8:22 pm

Thanks to all! I'm pleased that you like it.

Gibster, yes, I'll put some video soon.

Nice macro pictures Guy! What a beautiful and interesting caterpillar! I hope I'll see it in live.

Pete, yes, I'll put the images one day next week (maybe tomorrow). Thanks for guidance!

biosdr

Re: Scarce Swallowtail (life cycle)

Postby biosdr » Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:14 pm

I've added a video about the behaviour of caterpillars in the first post.

biosdr

Re: Scarce Swallowtail (life cycle)

Postby biosdr » Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:31 pm

pupa.JPG


finally! one is out and now drying. :D


Iphiclides podalirius.jpg
Last edited by biosdr on Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:33 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Scarce Swallowtail (life cycle)

Postby Padfield » Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:41 pm

What a triumph!

Good luck with the others too - and I do hope the weather is kind to these adults when you release them into the wild.

Guy
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Re: Scarce Swallowtail (life cycle)

Postby Vince Massimo » Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:58 pm

Great photos Dean, and well worth waiting for :D . I have not seen these aspects of this species before.

Could you post them in the Species-Specific Album when you have time please?

Vince

biosdr

Re: Scarce Swallowtail (life cycle)

Postby biosdr » Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:22 pm

Guy, the weather is a little bit rainy and windy over here, but has also sunny moments so it's ok for releasing them. Now, I'm waiting for new ones to emerge :).

Vince, yes, I'll put photos in the Album soon. First to see if I can make better ones. :)

biosdr

Re: Scarce Swallowtail (life cycle)

Postby biosdr » Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:25 am

two more have emerged and are ready for flight! :D

luckily it's a sunny morning. :mrgreen:

I'll put a video of emerging soon...


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