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NOTES ON REARING LEPIDOPTERA

LULWORTH SKIPPER (Thymelicus acteon von Rott.). On 18th August, 1953, many of these Skippers, which are confined to local spots along the South Coast, were Aying on the grassy slopes at Lulworth Cove, and a few females were seen laying their eggs in the sheaths surrounding the stems of the grass Brachypodium pinnatum, the normal food-plant of the larvae in their native haunts. Females were brought home and a few more batches of eggs were obtained. The larvae hatched at the end of September and ate most of their empty eggshells ; they then spun silken cocoons around themselves, still hidden in the sheaths of grass surrounding the stems, in a similar manner to that employed by the larvae of the Small Skipper (T. sylvestris Poda). The young larvae were bright yellow with large shiny black heads. The stems of grass containing the hibernating larvae were kept out-of-doors under cover until the spring, when the larvae were first seen to emerge at the beginning of May ; they escape by biting small holes in the dead blades of grass which have protected them during the winter. They were then placed on growing plants of the grass B. sylvaticum, an alternative food-plant, which was covered with netting. Little was seen of the larvae during the summer without diligent searching as, until nearly fully grown, they live in tunnels formed by spinning together the edges of a blade of grass. Their presence, however, was quite evident by noting the eaten grass. The fully grown larvae were green with lighter coloured longitudinal stripes, and they very closely resembled the blades of grass upon which they rested. Pupation took place in a very thin cocoon, consisting of a few threads of Silk spun low down among the grass stems. The butterflies emerged in August, 1954. SMALL PEARL-BORDERED FRXTILLARY (Argynnis selene Schiff.).— At the end of June this year a few females were brought home from Devon, and were enclosed on a growing plant of dog-violet. A number of eggs were obtained, some on the stems and leaves of the violet, but many on the earth and on the surrounding netting. The resulting larvae fed and grew slowly until the end of August, after which little or no feeding has occurred. It would appear that hibernation starts quite early. S.

BEAUFOY.

Lulworth Skipper  

Beaufoy, S.

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