Monday, June 19, 2017

Orange tip caterpillar food plants

We have all three of the commonest food plants for orange tip butterflies in the garden - hedge garlic (Alliaria petiolata), lady's smock (Cardamine pratensis) and sweet rocket (Hesperis matrionalis), though I only encourage the last two because hedge garlic is so invasive.

This year, for the first time, I've noticed the caterpillars feeding on the developing fruits of this plant, honesty Lunaria annua.

I think they probably find it tougher to chew than the other three plants but they seem to be growing rapidly on this diet.

The only drawback, from the caterpillar's point of view, may be that they are more conspicuous on these disk-shaped fruits. When they align with the long, thin pods of the other three plants they are quite hard to spot because their countershading colour scheme works very well in those circumstances and they don't cast a bold shadow..

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