Cycle of the Meadow
The small newly laid egg is mottled yellowish-brown becoming grey
It is spherical in shape and flattened top and bottom measuring c.0.5 mm in diameter.
The egg is laid singly mainly on blades off grass, often scattered
fairly indiscriminately among the food plants.
Hatching takes place in c.2 weeks. The egg laying season
is long lasting from c.June to September.
The adult larva measures up to 28 mm in length, tapering towards the
The body is bright green with a dark-green mediodorsal line and a
pale-yellow line extends along each side
below the level of the spiracles. The body is covered with fairly
long white hairs. The head is green and the
anal points white.
On hatching larvae of this single-brooded species eat their
eggshell and feed steadily thereafter on grass
leaves until the frosts.
During the winter months they do not hibernate but continue in mild
weather to be active by day on whatever
grasses are available and hiding and resting low down among the grasses
when cold. They continue in this
way until about March when, usually in the 3rd instar, they change to
feeding mainly by night, rising to the
top of the leaves to feed and resting low down. They are rather
sedentary and move only short distances.
The final instar begins pupation in late May or early June.
The pupa hangs downwards on the
grass stem, attached to a silk pad spun by the larva, and suspended by
means of hooks formed by the
cast larval skin which remains attached
to the pupa.
This pupal stage lasts c.4 weeks depending on the temperature.
The pupation period lasts from c. late May to early
After emergence the flight season is long lasting from about late
June to late September/October.