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Pieris rapae chrysalis

Pieris rapae


How would many chrysali end up in the same spot with no apparent food source nearby?


On a roof beam in the local railway station adjacent to national park.


About 15 of these were all chrysalising in a group each about 18mm long. Some had ecloded. The nearest obvious vegetation was weeds about 30 metres away. Eyes, antennae, wing profile and venation seem obvious as well as a snouty face and pointed abdomen. Thanks EduardoMarabuto for recognising it.
Known as Cabbage white.

1 Species ID Suggestions

Small white
Pieris rapae

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Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 9 years ago

Interesting thoughts thanks Martin. These would need to have passed dozens of seemingly suitable locations on the way. Maybe they check the real estate for (invisible?) conditions as they go.

MartinL 9 years ago

They might make a special effort during a heat wave to avoid getting cooked. The metal girder might seem like a large rock or rocky bank that would stay cooler than a plant. This might produce a trail for them. I've watched a caterpillar (monarch) stitch two leaves together to construct a stronger anchor point. They really can be quite clever. The monarch is sometimes called the 'wanderer' because their larvae typically go for a long trek before pupating. Many juicy pupae on the same food-plant, possibly with no leaves left, would be "all the eggs in one basket."

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 9 years ago

I'm just curious how they all chose to go to the same spot.

Yes, but like you said and I quote "The nearest obvious vegetation was weeds about 30 metres away" They just do that, they just find a secured spot to make sure their cocoon is safe. Have you observed how fast they go when they do that? I am just an observer of nature... : )

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 9 years ago

Thanks Leanne and Gilma. @Gilma these larvae would need to have walked for days to get here assuming they fed on some vegetative material. And they all went to the same location ! In my experience lepidopteran larvae usually feed right up until they need to pupate and then do it 'on the spot'. Thanks Eduardo for the suggestion.

LeanneGardner 9 years ago

Super spot!

I have seen many caterpillars just go to make their cocoons in the strangest places, they are done with eating and just want to go make a cocoon. This is just base on my observations. Pupas do not eat. (The pupa is a caterpillar, in a state of dormancy)

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway 9 years ago

Good question, Mark. I hope some one can explain..

Mark Ridgway
Spotted by
Mark Ridgway

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Spotted on Feb 8, 2014
Submitted on Feb 9, 2014

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