The Journey of Chester Zoo’s Newborn Caterpillars

150 large heath caterpillars hatched this month in England’s Chester Zoo. Here are images that follow the process of raising a once-extinct species.

By: Janet Lee

The Journey of Chester Zoo’s Newborn Caterpillars

The newly born large heath caterpillar is only at a millimeter in length. It will grow up at Chester Zoo and return to its historic home as a butterfly. Photo credit: Chester Zoo

The Journey of Chester Zoo’s Newborn Caterpillars

Chester Zoo’s conservationists used paintbrushes to relocate the newborns to their designated zoo habitats. Brushes allow invertebrate keepers to be precise and delicate when handling these fragile insects.

The Journey of Chester Zoo’s Newborn Caterpillars

Large heath caterpillars lived in the boggy mosses of Manchester and Liverpool. They were extinct for a century due to the disappearance of the city’s wetlands.

The Journey of Chester Zoo’s Newborn Caterpillars

The 150 caterpillars will be released in the Summer as large heath butterflies. These butterflies can be identified by their orange wings with six black and white eyespots on the underside.

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