|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|This small caterpillar of Pyronia cecilia - about 3 mm total length - presents us its new appearance after the first moulting. The old skin has been striped off and is seen at the end of the larva. The empty head capsule lies just in front of the new head.|
Larval development of members of the Satyrinae (Nymphlidae) includes 3 to 4, rarely 5, moultings to the next larval stage. The result of the final moutling is the pupa or chrysalis. During growth of the caterpillar the chitinous skin does not really follow and is stretched only up to a certain degree. Then the larva has to begin the next moulting. The head capsule cannot be stretched and does not increase in size during a larval phase. As can be seen from the picture the new head capsule is much bigger than that of the former instar. Furthermore it has changed its colour and is covered with much more setae ("hairs"). The larva seen here is clearly the second instar, becuase the old head capsule shows only so-called primary setae. The eggs of P. cecilia are smaller than 1 mm in diameter and the freshly hatched caterpillar has a length of 1.5 mm only with an head capsule diameter of about 0.5 mm. P. cecilia usually has 5 larval instars. As for other Satyrines, the first instar differs markedly in appearance from the following ones and there is another more prominent change to the final stage.
P. cecilia can be found as butterfly in TrekNature.
An Olympus auto-bellows was used.
REFERENCES: There are no books on the first larval stages of butterflies.
Pictures of grown-ups can be found for example in:
Porter J. (1997) The Colour Identification Guide to Caterpillars of the British Isles. - Penguin Books, London.
phlr, Janice, Snoops, nardophoto, cedryk, Nephrotome2 has marked this note useful
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Nice photo of so small caterpillar
- [2006-05-23 17:27]
Peaty the BG isn't better.
Very good DOF and details!
Very good POv too!
- [2006-05-23 21:54]
Wow! This is very interesting Peter, what an excellent capture. Very good macro, especially if this one is only 3mm long, that's tiny!! Well done,
- [2006-05-24 2:29]
Fantastic macro, Peter.
3mm, you say? Wow!
Wonderful details, and capture of a great moment.
TFS. : )
- [2006-05-30 19:50]
Great detailed shot and informative note. Perfect simple composition and framing. No unnecessary details.
- [2006-06-03 8:32]
Amazing details on this so small(Lycanidae?) larva. it is a perfect photo in my opinion.
- [2006-08-05 18:27]
Great capture my friend. It usefully shows much about the life of a caterpillar as it sheds its skin.