• Barbara Copperthwaite

The power of my cauliflower...

Second moult Large White caterpillar, Barbara Copperthwaite, Go Be Wild

3rd moult Large White caterpillar, Barbara Copperthwaite, Go Be Wild

Third moult Large White caterpillar, Barbara Copperthwaite, Go Be Wild

At home in my garden, something is nibbling on my cauliflowers. In fact, I now feel that I am ‘growing’ caterpillars rather than cauli! They are, in fact, the young of the Large White butterfly. It has been great to watch them grow from tiny little black, grey and yellow slivers of movement to the fatter creatures they are today.

It may seem incredible that they are able to move around so boldly, and yet not get eaten. That is because Large White caterpillars accumulate poisons in their bodies as they feed, which make them unpalatable to birds that would otherwise gobble them up. This enables the caterpillars to peacefully munch away in plain sight, side by side with their siblings.

They have already moulted three times, but still have a little way to go before they will reach full size of around 45mm (they go through four moults in total). It takes around four weeks from hatching for them to reach the next stage and form a chrysalis. When they are ready to do that, they will take themselves away from their food plant (in this case, my cabbages!) and find a quiet spot on a fence or tree where they can spin pupate. Good luck to them! I just hope they leave me one cabbage to eat myself…

While I was watching the caterpillars, I couldn’t resist taking a photograph of a magnificent hoverfly on the bindweed flowers too. It was an absolute beauty, brightening up yet another dull day with its amber colouring.

Hoverfly, Barbara Copperthwaite, Go Be Wild

#largewhitebutterfly #largewhitebutterflycaterpillar

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