|Juncus stem and 'caterpillar'|
But when I examined 'it' under a lens, I found I had a collection of separate 'things' all lying adjacent to each other:
|Juncus stem with 15 separate 'things'|
I have mentioned before that sawflies have an 'interesting' development lifecycle and these are a prime example of that. Whereas butterflies and moths go through a strict egg-larva-pupa-adult lifecycle, sawflies can exist in a range of states including some intermediate nymph stages like we see here.
Now we notice a few things about the photograph:
1) we have three different colours: orange, white and green (very patriotic, for an Irish specimen)
2) the white ones have a brown dot on them
3) the brown dots appear in different places, but overall they describe a smooth(ish) arc.
Until something emerges (or a range of somethings emerge) from these cocoons, we can only speculate about what we actually have here:
- It could be that the coloured specimens are about to emerge, or that they have failed and are dead.
- The arc of brown dots could be the eyes of the eonymphs, or they could be the eggs of a parasitic wasp.
I have fired the images off to a specialist group who are experts on sawflies and I am currently waiting to see what they have to say. I could separate some of the cocoons and put them under a microscope, but I'm very keen to leave them intact to see what emerges, so I have put the sample into a sealed tube and hope to be able to identify the adults after they emerge.
I have searched the internet and can find no images of the eonymphs of likely species, so this might well be the first image of its kind.
It's only March and already we have mysteries.