When I realized that one of the caterpillars was actually growing and thriving in the makeshift home i thought i better find out what we had and how to help nature along so to speak.
After having gone to the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary in Cairns about a year ago i thought it may be my best chance of finding out what to do (and what not to do) and what we might be dealing with in the way of these little critters, so i emailed and next morning i had a reply from them, so cool!
Apparently the cocoons we have are actually moths *bleagh* which is funny to those of you who know me because i have quite a severe phobia of them- still I'm persevering with those two cocoons if purely just for the educational aspect to Jesse.
Despite being told that the caterpillar is probably a moth i went into denial LOL! You see (from my research) caterpillars can vary in their appearance depending on what host plant they're well... being hosted in- depending what they're eating basically. So to just show a caterpillar even to an expert is kinda iffy, so i just read up on what butterfly caterpillars do Vs moths and this little guy...
I'm convinced is a butterfly caterpillar! The info sheet i got from Australian Butterfly Sanctuary mentions "they will often eat the skin they have just walked out of" and i saw that happen a couple of times, it was bazaar!Here's another big chunk from the info sheet: "You will notice that each instar changes the appearance of the caterpillar slightly. When they are small they are brown and white and designed to look like a bird dropping - a pretty good idea if one of your main predators is a bird! However, in their last instar the caterpillar’s skin is a green colour and designed to merge with the colour of the food plant it is sitting on. At the end of the fifth instar, the caterpillar will be readying itself to pupate. You will notice that it will attach its hind parts, again with silk, to a leaf or branch and then it will spin a loop of silk and hang off that by the ‘neck’. Within a day or two the last skin will have dropped off and the newly exposed pupa casing, which will be very soft initially, will harden providing the protective covering within which the butterfly will form" Sooo... do you reckon my caterpillar is in it's 5th instar right now?
Anyways... that's my news for today, oh and just one more little cool thing i found that fuels my obsession...remember the bit about looking like a bird dropping?
Stay tuned for further updates!