Category: babies

Soldier Fly Larva!

@theartisticvet submitted:

I found this guy on my porch today, it doesn’t have a distinct face nor does it have any legs. Can you help me figure out what it is?


Soldier Fly Larva!

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They can live in the water!

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They can live on land!

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They can be tiny and live under tree bark (image above taken through a microscope)

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They wiggle!

I’m not sure, but I’m wondering if the one you found is a pupa–I had a hard time finding information about them online. They are pretty fun. Soldier flies are very diverse, and gardeners who do a lot of compost actively seek out soldier fly larvae because they are great at eating and pooping!

Sorry for THE DELAY™ but ya know
December 10, 2018

Regular

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Adventures in Giant Caterpillars

Earlier today, I posted this ask from @witchyfishyfun [link] about a wandering prepupal Imperial Moth caterpillar. Well. Guess what?

We staged a secretive handover in a parking lot off an interstate.

LOOOOOK!!!!!

I was right about baby being prepupal, he had turned PINK! by the time I picked him up! For whatever reason, many caterpillars tend to turn pink before pupating.

I love him!!!

Okay, enough nonsense, let’s let him pupate already. I gave him the Bowl o’ Dirt with Leaf Garnish, snapped the lid on, and put him in the nice, cool, dark garage.

GOOD LUCK BABY!!!

November 8, 2018

I took a peek!

Bowl o’ Dirt with Leaf Garnish, but hmmmmmmmm where is the baby???

Leaf Garnish removed. Hard to see in this photo, but there is a large bump where SOMEBODY may have burrowed underground.

This is the bottom of the clear plastic bowl. I can see a cavity with a green friend inside. He could be in diapause (hibernation) as a prepupa, and he’ll pupate when the weather changes a bit more. The pupae are almost always a dark brown, the green color would only be present in a VERY fresh pupa.

We’ll just have to wait a little longer and see!

November 21, 2018

reposting Dec 10, 2018 … originally marked as explicit…

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Ready for another caterpillar flavor? I found a Polyphemus moth laying eggs on the side of my house. Brought her inside, put her in an enclosure while I grabbed a paper bag (easier to collect eggs on paper!!!), and she laid FIVE eggs in the 10 seconds it took me to get back to her.

Last year, I struggled with keeping my Polyphemus babes fed, since the trees they eat were not abundant in my yard (they ate all the little saplings down to sticks!). But this year, I anticipated Good Moth Luck, and have let all the elm saplings get big and tall regardless of how inconveniently placed they are. And here we are! 😀

August 31, 2018

Guess who’s here?

Mama moth laid 90 eggs and thankfully I was able to give away most of them. I kept 20 eggs for myself, and they started hatching this morning. Exciting!!

September 8, 2018

My fat babies 😭

I gave away 5 more eggs, and three have yet to hatch, so only 12 caterpillars right now. Much easier than 90!!

September 10, 2018

Newborn Alert!

Compare the size of a newly hatched baby pillar with her two-day-old siblings.

September 10, 2018

Baby’s First Molt

You can see his old face is starting to come off! Exciting!

September 11, 2018

Molting underway!

Fresh new clothes! In the top photo, you can see the baby’s old skin behind him (it’s the dry yellow thing). In the bottom photo, you can see all their discarded head capsules (I circled them). I collect caterpillar faces!

Remember: they are four days old at this point.

September 12, 2018

Gaze upon my large children

September 13, 2018

Oops forgot to post these yesterday!! Got distracted by BIRD NONSENSE

I probably need to feed them again. They are eating machines!!!

September 15, 2018

Important new development: Hairy Toes

September 20, 2018

The molting and cuteness are everlasting. Soon they will have their walrus mustaches.

September 22, 2018

The bigger they get, the sillier their molt dance gets. Check out the complete celebratory ridiculousness here [link to previous post]

Wow wouldn’t it be nice if I could post a video reblog on mobile?!

September 23, 2018

Important

Big n’ fat

September 25, 2018

Absolute Units

These were taken over the course of the past few days (time to retag these as “caterpillar laterposts”?), but as you can see, they are now LORGE. The last photo is a big fat baby molting again to become bigger and fatter.

On Monday, I’m bringing them to a school, where a class of VERY lucky 1st graders gets to MEET THEM and WATCH THEM POOP. Speaking of which, stay tuned because I have the action-gif of the poopening photo third from the bottom.

September 29, 2018

Polyphemus caterpillars: unanimously approved by 25 six-year-old humans

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Yesterday, I brought four of the fatties to Cedar Creek Elementary school where they got to meet a class of 1st graders who are learning about insects. One of them was molting! One of them pooped, they were fat and eating and the kids LOVED them. They kept asking: “Are these REAL?!” You bet!!

I also brought the microscope and showed them some caterpillar faces! Photos above are from yesterday.

And today?

image
image
image

They grow. Larger and larger!

October 2, 2018

*heavy breathing*

October 3, 2018

Poopin’

October 4, 2018

I’m in love

October 4, 2018 (pm)

Faterpillar Apocalypse

October 6, 2018

How are they not making cocoons yet?!

LOOK HOW FAT

LOOK

October 8, 2018

STOP THEM

Like my new mustache?

October 8/9, 2018

Squeeze gently to check for ripeness.

Ah, yes. Almost ready.

(Where are my cocoons already?!)

October 9, 2018

It is time

The prophesy is realized. As it was foretold,

R O U N D B O Y

has arrived

This prepupal green sausage is making THE FIRST COCOON!!!

October 10, 2018

There are now three cocoons

Top: the first cocoon, babby sewed some leaves to the side the their home so you can see the “naked” cocoon side. They don’t always hide in leaf cocoons, but it’s very common and a good camouflage strategy.

Bottom: the second cocoonis completely enclosed in leaves. The third cocoon looks the same.

The caterpillars were huge, so these cocoons must be MASSIVE, right??

Nope! Check it out:

You remember the first bab got SO FAT WHY? They squeeze themselves like an accordion before they make their cocoon and pupate inside. Adult moths look way bigger than they actually are thanks to their wings. Polyphemus moths are pretty big anyway, but the cocoon and pupa are only about a large as the moths body, the wings are just tiny inflatable flaps until they emerge and pump them up.

Only 9 more to go!

October 12, 2018

Only 3 caterpillars left!

Currently, 9 babies are tucked away in their cocoons. Look how cozy! The three remaining sausages are being their typical ridiculous selves. For example, this:

I mean, sure, this is how I eat my breakfast, too.

October 14, 2018

All the Babs are in Cocoons

The final caterpillar made a cocoon on Friday, and caterpillar season is finally starting to slow down a bit (who am I kidding, caterpillar season in Texas lasts 9 months).

Here’s what happened the 17th through the 20th!

Wandering around, trying to find the perfect pupation location.

Leaf fondling

Drama

Poops! Their poops are typically as big as their heads!

The last caterpillar needed to be original, and made a naked cocoon (no leaves). Here’s the beginning.

All done! The finished cocoons are thick and hard, which protects them during the winter. They will pupate inside the cocoon, and when the moths emerge, they spit out a special enzyme that dissolves the silk so they can emerge. For that reason, it’s important that the cocoons are kept somewhere somewhat humid (similar to the outdoors!), since our homes can be very dry by caterpillar standards. I have a humidifier in the caterpillar room, but you can also spray a mist of water onto them regularly.

October 21, 2018

Somebody’s early!

image

I’ve been keeping the cocoons in my garage so they could be exposed to the cold weather and experience the natural change in seasons… and of course we had a weird freeze in early November followed by spring weather in late November… so I had a fat lady emerge last night, to show off at an outreach event today! She was just hanging out and was hard to see in the enclosure, so I decided to wear her.

image

And of course that wasn’t good enough for me

image
image

Anyway. After she warmed up enough, she peed on my neck and flew away like a champ. That was pretty inspiring. I’ve only ever seen them do the dead fish flop before! They can actually fly!

The rest of the cocoons have been transferred to the fridge in hopes that everybody else will WAIT until real spring.

December 1, 2018

trying this again Dec 10, 2018 … reblog had been flagged as explicit… uh…

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Mystery Tussock Moth caterpillar livepost continues! Unsettling egg raft and hatching photos over here (trypophobia warning!)[link] 

The babes are still pretty small, but oh boy they are HUNGRY. Their poops changed color from yellow to the standard green color. They are escape artists and I have to continually put them back into their habitat when I’m feeding them (I use a paintbrush to move them, very convenient!), and there are SO MANY of them. 

September 8, 2018

They are still so tiny but SO FURRY!! Look at all that FLUFF!! These babes are a pain in the butt and are constantly trying to escape. I can’t wait for them to get bigger and fluffier.

September 9, 2018

First Molt Underway

Prepare for

The Fluffening

Their head capsule includes the earmuff dongles I’m d y i n g

September 10, 2018

First Molt Complete

Still no idea who they are!

I did an enclosure change today. How do you move hoardes of tiny caterpillars, you ask?

See related video, Painting by Caterpillar: Tussock moth

September 11, 2018

They’re perfect

Starting to look a little more tussocky! Still very small.

September 12, 2018

I have been a bad caterpillar liveposter, BUT these things have molted a second time and they are still almost impossible to see without a microscope.

If anything, the fluffier they get, the harder they are to see!

These are from last night :X

September 15, 2018

They are taking forever and I’m impatient.

This one hadn’t moved in three days or so. Turns out he was just molting??? (That’s his old skin next to him)

September 25, 2018

I guess they’re a little bigger?

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Also, those hairs?

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Don’t touch! The fluffy looking hairs have a strange texture, and they may be the irritating hairs that can cause allergic reactions. I really need to read up on stinging caterpillar anatomy!

October 2, 2018

Are you ready?

I love them 😭

October 11, 2018

I think we have an ID!

Looks like a Yellow-banded Tussock Moth! Still need to see the adults to know for sure, but these babs match the photo in the caterpillar guide perfectly!

October 15, 2018

Large and terrifying

Very cute, but wow those hairs all look like trouble!

October 20, 2018

Punk Hairstyles for the Distinguished Caterpillar

Arching his back… almost like he’s trying to maximize his chances of stinging somebody.

I can’t believe how OLD they are! They just keep growing and molting. I don’t know how big they get, but I believe they still have aways to go.

October 24, 2018

An update!

THIS FACE. THIS TUM.

Cocoon time!

Oh! Who is this?!?

Mystery solved! This is a Southern Tussock Moth!! Others in my butterfly/moth group thought it was a different species based on the caterpillar (as did I!), which is exactly why I raise caterpillars! When I found the eggs, I could not find any documentation relating moth species to egg or caterpillar. And now I have the egg, the caterpillars at every size, the host plant, the cocoon/pupa, and the adult moth!

Science is awesome, and citizen science is even awesomer. I’m not a “real” entomologist. Anybody with the time and energy can do this (and when I have the time and energy, I write up a how to guide, I promise!)

Anyway, let’s love on this bab a bit since he can’t sting me now!

Awwwwwwwww

Adult emerged December 9, 2018, other photos from earlier (oops).

nanonaturalist: @midnight-mod submitted: Hey! …

nanonaturalist:

@midnight-mod submitted:

Hey! Could I get some help IDing these little fellas? My mom found them in a lake in Texas, they’re about 5-6cm long. She’s a flyfisherman so she’s always really excited about learning about aquatic larvae in areas she fishes! I’ve been digging through lists and guides of aquatic invertebrates/larvae and haven’t found anything quite like them, care to help me out?


These fat babies are water scavenger beetle larvae. I’ve never been blessed with seeing them in person, but I have seen the adults. They can be small, but they can also get very large! Here are a couple from Austin:

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Tropisternus sp.

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Hydrophilus ovatus 

These were both seen in March 2018. Sorry it took me SO LONG to answer you life is stressful!

December 1, 2018

@indelliblemercinary, that’s a great question (and thanks for pointing that out–I edited my post to say they are beetle larvae to avoid confusion). I think you will find that many immature aquatic insects take on these shapes, which means they can look very similar to one another. I mentioned I’ve never seen water scavenger beetle larvae before, but I have seen predaceous diving beetle larvae before:

This guy is a lot younger than the babies in the submitted photo (this photo had to be taken through a microscope!), but the shape of the head and the mouthparts (those are beetle jaw pincers!) are very similar. If you are familiar enough with beetle larvae, you will notice that the legs, head shape, eyes, and “neck” are different enough that they are not the same type of beetle. 

But let’s look at dragonflies and damselflies, because those are very interesting to compare! I’d like to note that the immature forms of dragonflies and damselflies are known as nymphs because they don’t go through complete metamorphosis (there is no pupa stage, they just molt one more time and come out as a full adult). All beetles go through complete metamorphosis, so their immature phases are called larvae, even when they are aquatic.

I have never seen a living dragonfly nymph (I think they tend to keep themselves buried!), but I have seen their exuvia (the exoskeletons they leave behind after they molt). The exuvia will show you exactly what they looked like, minus some of the coloring. Notice the differences between this guy’s body shape and the beetle larvae: you can actually see the little flaps where his wings were forming, his legs are much longer, he has much larger eyes, and he doesn’t have the “pincer” jaws. Before that final molt, the nymph climbs out of the water so they can hang and let their wings harden, and sometimes you can get lucky and find one near a pond or lake.

Here is a live damselfly nymph! A little different from the dragonfly (we have the tail gills, and a longer body), but still fairly similar when you compare it to the beetle larvae. See the wing buds on his back? 

You are more likely to notice beetle larvae and dragonfly/damselfly nymphs when they are older and ready to become adults, but it’s important to keep in mind that they start out very tiny! As they develop, dragonfly and damselfly nymphs will molt several times, and look more and more like adults each time–but this means they start out looking more “larva-like.” Those wing buds don’t start to become visible until later stages in their development. For beetle larvae, they can start out very thin, and then get very fat as they feed, which can make identifying them tricky!

Aquatic insects are challenging, immature life stages of insects are challenging, so immature life stages of aquatic insects are really hard! I am definitely not an expert on these topics, so always feel free to ask me if I’m sure about something!

December 2, 2018

@midnight-mod submitted:

@midnight-mod submitted:

Hey! Could I get some help IDing these little fellas? My mom found them in a lake in Texas, they’re about 5-6cm long. She’s a flyfisherman so she’s always really excited about learning about aquatic larvae in areas she fishes! I’ve been digging through lists and guides of aquatic invertebrates/larvae and haven’t found anything quite like them, care to help me out?


These fat babies are water scavenger beetles. I’ve never been blessed with seeing them in person, but I have seen the adults. They can be small, but they can also get very large! Here are a couple from Austin:

Tropisternus sp.

Hydrophilus ovatus 

These were both seen in March 2018. Sorry it took me SO LONG to answer you life is stressful!

December 1, 2018

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Ready for another caterpillar flavor? I found a Polyphemus moth laying eggs on the side of my house. Brought her inside, put her in an enclosure while I grabbed a paper bag (easier to collect eggs on paper!!!), and she laid FIVE eggs in the 10 seconds it took me to get back to her.

Last year, I struggled with keeping my Polyphemus babes fed, since the trees they eat were not abundant in my yard (they ate all the little saplings down to sticks!). But this year, I anticipated Good Moth Luck, and have let all the elm saplings get big and tall regardless of how inconveniently placed they are. And here we are! 😀

August 31, 2018

Guess who’s here?

Mama moth laid 90 eggs and thankfully I was able to give away most of them. I kept 20 eggs for myself, and they started hatching this morning. Exciting!!

September 8, 2018

My fat babies 😭

I gave away 5 more eggs, and three have yet to hatch, so only 12 caterpillars right now. Much easier than 90!!

September 10, 2018

Newborn Alert!

Compare the size of a newly hatched baby pillar with her two-day-old siblings.

September 10, 2018

Baby’s First Molt

You can see his old face is starting to come off! Exciting!

September 11, 2018

Molting underway!

Fresh new clothes! In the top photo, you can see the baby’s old skin behind him (it’s the dry yellow thing). In the bottom photo, you can see all their discarded head capsules (I circled them). I collect caterpillar faces!

Remember: they are four days old at this point.

September 12, 2018

Gaze upon my large children

September 13, 2018

Oops forgot to post these yesterday!! Got distracted by BIRD NONSENSE

I probably need to feed them again. They are eating machines!!!

September 15, 2018

Important new development: Hairy Toes

September 20, 2018

The molting and cuteness are everlasting. Soon they will have their walrus mustaches.

September 22, 2018

The bigger they get, the sillier their molt dance gets. Check out the complete celebratory ridiculousness here [link to previous post]

Wow wouldn’t it be nice if I could post a video reblog on mobile?!

September 23, 2018

Important

Big n’ fat

September 25, 2018

Absolute Units

These were taken over the course of the past few days (time to retag these as “caterpillar laterposts”?), but as you can see, they are now LORGE. The last photo is a big fat baby molting again to become bigger and fatter.

On Monday, I’m bringing them to a school, where a class of VERY lucky 1st graders gets to MEET THEM and WATCH THEM POOP. Speaking of which, stay tuned because I have the action-gif of the poopening photo third from the bottom.

September 29, 2018

Polyphemus caterpillars: unanimously approved by 25 six-year-old humans

image
image
image

Yesterday, I brought four of the fatties to Cedar Creek Elementary school where they got to meet a class of 1st graders who are learning about insects. One of them was molting! One of them pooped, they were fat and eating and the kids LOVED them. They kept asking: “Are these REAL?!” You bet!!

I also brought the microscope and showed them some caterpillar faces! Photos above are from yesterday.

And today?

image
image
image

They grow. Larger and larger!

October 2, 2018

*heavy breathing*

October 3, 2018

Poopin’

October 4, 2018

I’m in love

October 4, 2018 (pm)

Faterpillar Apocalypse

October 6, 2018

How are they not making cocoons yet?!

LOOK HOW FAT

LOOK

October 8, 2018

STOP THEM

Like my new mustache?

October 8/9, 2018

Squeeze gently to check for ripeness.

Ah, yes. Almost ready.

(Where are my cocoons already?!)

October 9, 2018

It is time

The prophesy is realized. As it was foretold,

R O U N D B O Y

has arrived

This prepupal green sausage is making THE FIRST COCOON!!!

October 10, 2018

There are now three cocoons

Top: the first cocoon, babby sewed some leaves to the side the their home so you can see the “naked” cocoon side. They don’t always hide in leaf cocoons, but it’s very common and a good camouflage strategy.

Bottom: the second cocoonis completely enclosed in leaves. The third cocoon looks the same.

The caterpillars were huge, so these cocoons must be MASSIVE, right??

Nope! Check it out:

You remember the first bab got SO FAT WHY? They squeeze themselves like an accordion before they make their cocoon and pupate inside. Adult moths look way bigger than they actually are thanks to their wings. Polyphemus moths are pretty big anyway, but the cocoon and pupa are only about a large as the moths body, the wings are just tiny inflatable flaps until they emerge and pump them up.

Only 9 more to go!

October 12, 2018

Only 3 caterpillars left!

Currently, 9 babies are tucked away in their cocoons. Look how cozy! The three remaining sausages are being their typical ridiculous selves. For example, this:

I mean, sure, this is how I eat my breakfast, too.

October 14, 2018

All the Babs are in Cocoons

The final caterpillar made a cocoon on Friday, and caterpillar season is finally starting to slow down a bit (who am I kidding, caterpillar season in Texas lasts 9 months).

Here’s what happened the 17th through the 20th!

Wandering around, trying to find the perfect pupation location.

Leaf fondling

Drama

Poops! Their poops are typically as big as their heads!

The last caterpillar needed to be original, and made a naked cocoon (no leaves). Here’s the beginning.

All done! The finished cocoons are thick and hard, which protects them during the winter. They will pupate inside the cocoon, and when the moths emerge, they spit out a special enzyme that dissolves the silk so they can emerge. For that reason, it’s important that the cocoons are kept somewhere somewhat humid (similar to the outdoors!), since our homes can be very dry by caterpillar standards. I have a humidifier in the caterpillar room, but you can also spray a mist of water onto them regularly.

October 21, 2018

Somebody’s early!

I’ve been keeping the cocoons in my garage so they could be exposed to the cold weather and experience the natural change in seasons… and of course we had a weird freeze in early November followed by spring weather in late November… so I had a fat lady emerge last night, to show off at an outreach event today! She was just hanging out and was hard to see in the enclosure, so I decided to wear her.

And of course that wasn’t good enough for me

Anyway. After she warmed up enough, she peed on my neck and flew away like a champ. That was pretty inspiring. I’ve only ever seen them do the dead fish flop before! They can actually fly!

The rest of the cocoons have been transferred to the fridge in hopes that everybody else will WAIT until real spring.

December 1, 2018

caterpillar-gifs:Giant Leopard Moth caterpilla…

caterpillar-gifs:

Giant Leopard Moth caterpillar eating hackberry leaves

November 26, 2018

Regular

nanonaturalist:

Adventures in Giant Caterpillars

Earlier today, I posted this ask from @witchyfishyfun [link] about a wandering prepupal Imperial Moth caterpillar. Well. Guess what?

We staged a secretive handover in a parking lot off an interstate.

LOOOOOK!!!!!

I was right about baby being prepupal, he had turned PINK! by the time I picked him up! For whatever reason, many caterpillars tend to turn pink before pupating.

I love him!!!

Okay, enough nonsense, let’s let him pupate already. I gave him the Bowl o’ Dirt with Leaf Garnish, snapped the lid on, and put him in the nice, cool, dark garage.

GOOD LUCK BABY!!!

November 8, 2018

I took a peek!

Bowl o’ Dirt with Leaf Garnish, but hmmmmmmmm where is the baby???

Leaf Garnish removed. Hard to see in this photo, but there is a large bump where SOMEBODY may have burrowed underground.

This is the bottom of the clear plastic bowl. I can see a cavity with a green friend inside. He could be in diapause (hibernation) as a prepupa, and he’ll pupate when the weather changes a bit more. The pupae are almost always a dark brown, the green color would only be present in a VERY fresh pupa.

We’ll just have to wait a little longer and see!

November 21, 2018

Regular

art-is-a-form-of-anxiety:

An update on Moose, my Indian Walking Stick.

Their looking good so far and I love them.

It’s been three months so far and I really hope they live to their full age.

The Gif below is from September.

@six-legs-and-more @nanonaturalist

Lookit this wiggly bab growing so fast! Good luck!!!

November 20, 2018