What happened to the caterpillar ?



    When visiting a dry grassland in Franche-Comté a female of Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides podalirius) was spotted during the egg-laying process on sloe-bushes (Prunus spinosa). The female seemed to be laying only on small heads of the foodplant whereas larger bushes were not selected by the insect.

From this moment, the egg was checked regularly in order not to miss the hatching....
 28/04/2010 - Franche-Comté - France
 
 
     
 30/05/2010 - 15:48  One month after laying, the aspect of the egg changed and one could guess that the small caterpillar was about to get out of the egg
 
 04/06/2010 - 13:46  As expected, the precise moment of hatching was missed..... but the tiny larva was found all the same not far from the empty egg
 
 12/06/2010 - 09:59 During the following days the caterpillar molted ; most of the time it was lying on a leaf previously covered with silk which might have been helpful for staying anchored on the leaf surface...
     
 12/06/2010 - 13:54 The larva was leaving sometimes its resting leaf to get to another place nearby for eating.

 
12/06/2010 - 13:57  As visible on this picture the leaf used for eating had already been attacked by the caterpillar and was reused for that purpose several times
     
 12/06/2010 - 13:58
 
   12/06/2010 - 14:00
 
 12/06/2010 - 14:02 The time for feeding was usually rather short (less than 5 minutes).
     
12/06/2010 - 14:03  After eating the caterpillar was each time going straight to its resting leaf.  18/06/2010 - 17:28 Other views of the caterpillar. When worried, the larva was becoming stiff and was drawing up ; at rest it normally was entirely lying onto the leaf  25/06/2010 - 14:50
Other views...

 
     
 25/06/2010 - 14:52


 
 27/06/2010 - 16:17 This picture is the last view available of this caterpillar because for some reason the larva disappeared... Noone knows what it became though it is likely that a predator found it... ...Unhappy end.