Raising Butterflies: Grey Hairstreak Hatching

Let’s play: is that a random spec of dirt, or the precious caterpillar you collected?

Well, it twitched. I guess it’s a caterpillar.

It’s been three days since I collected the grey hairstreak eggs, and they both hatched. The folks at BAMONA say that grey hairstreak caterpillars eat the flowers, not the leaves. I put both flowers and leaves in with the hatchlings. I’m hoping they don’t wander away from their food. The containers are big enough they could walk off and starve. It also says the caterpillar can be cannibalistic – caterpillar cannibalism doesn’t seem to be a conscious thing so much as they won’t stop eating a leaf just because there’s another caterpillar on it. Either way, the two caterpillars are in separate containers.

At this stage, they’re smaller than ants, so I have to use a fine paintbrush if I want to move them. Speaking of ants, in the wild, hairstreak caterpillars are attended by ants. The ants tend to them, and in exchange the hairstreak produces a nectary substance for them. No ants here, unless you count in the kitchen.

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