I had an “assignment” from an entomologist at the California Department of Agriculture to rear a particular species of slug moth (Euclea incisa, not present in California so he can’t do it himself) and document variations in caterpillars from different broods. No problem! I said.
He probably didn’t expect embryonic development updates.
The eggs of this species are completely transparent and flat, so checking in was easy and SO COOL.
Anyways these babes are one of the stinging slug caterpillars, and they don’t have prolegs (?!), check out that last gif. Mom of these ones is in the last photo. They are super tiny, microscope shots are magnified 50x.
Said Californian entomologist is a Good Dude and offered to help me write up the paper without author credit on the babes. I can’t get an entomology job without an entomology degree, but I wonder how many single-author papers I can publish to substitute for one (probably none lol).
May 17, 2019
Spiny slug baby updates
The purpose of this “experiment” is to see if there are differences in how the caterpillars look between different batches of eggs, but I’m going to go insane keeping track of that here AND on iNat, so here are a bunch of unlabeled random slug babies! Microscope shots are all magnified 20x in this batch.
Arranged from youngest to oldest. They get spinier and stingier as they grow!
Look! You can see them without the microscope now!!! And I am totally raising them in a parmesan container, they are too small to keep in anything else.
At their largest, they are about the size of a jelly bean. A… spiny jelly bean. Do not eat.
May 18, 2018
Spiny Slug Jellypillar Update
It’s warm enough in my house that I am constantly fighting against mold in their little containers, but if they are molting I can’t move them off a moldy leaf. It’s a situation. I upgraded the big batch of them to a salad bin (formerly in a parmesan container). The rest of the babies are in sauce cups.
Wecome to my salad bar!
May 26, 2019
The worst salad? Or…
the best salad?
They’re so cute save me how are there so many where did they come from
This isn’t even all of them
June 10, 2019
@thedaeyoung holy carp yes they do
Last night I was up too late doing emergency caterpillar feeding. I need to switch their enclosure over but I don’t have a clean one and I can’t eat the salad I bought fast enough to move them into that container, and there’s a lot of mold growing at the bottom of this one. I was worried about cocoons getting moldy, feeding leaves to caterpillars, and I accidentally bumped a baby with my finger.
The sting was worse than an io moth caterpillar sting! It wasn’t a very hard bump though, I’m sure a proper sting would be much more painful. Very impressive!
June 18, 2019