First, the caterpillar. Now I know this is a bit like the chicken and egg debate – which came first? – but my sequence is chronological for 2019. This is the caterpillar / larva of a Burnet moth, most likely a Six-spot Burnet (Zygaena filipendulae), as they’re the species I’ve seen at this site in previous years. I only found out this week that they over-winter as caterpillars, and they’re now enjoying a final munch before beginning their transformation.
Second, the pupa. Some of the munchers have already begun their metamorphosis into moths. This week I’ve spotted quite a number of the papery cocoons they spin to house their pupae while they go through this process.
Third, the moth. In previous years, the Six-spots have begun to appear around the beginning of July but the weather conditions can have an effect on their emergence. So, eyes peeled for the appearance of these gorgeous creatures in a meadow near you very soon!
p.s. And if, by some chance, it’s actually a Five spot Burnet (Zygaena lonicerae), then it will look like this – you just have to count the dots!