Category: babies

nanonaturalist: nanonaturalist: nanonaturali…

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

Went to grab some quick food for the Cecropia caterpillars, and the leaflet I randomly picked to feed them had A BABY on it! I have no idea who this is, though with the hairs, I’m guessing a tiger moth of some sort?

Caterpillar season is HERE!!! I’ve got three species going now! Plus the stick insects. Let’s see how overboard I go this year (please not too much 😭). I am NOT planting more milkweed and it appears my plants from last year did not survive (*phew!*)

I love caterpillars but they are soul-draining vampires and I am compelled to serve them beyond my will. Save me.

March 27, 2019

Molting already

They grow so fast

March 29, 2019

Again and again!

Post-molt glamour shots from March 31 (so beautiful!). But of course, baby molted AGAIN two days later!!

Hmmmmm I have no idea who this could be 😉

Tiger moth of some sort, probably Virginian.

April 2, 2019

Catch-up time!

April 4

This sweet babe 😭 Growing so fast.

Oh! What’s this?

Molting? Again?!

April 6

A racing stripe! Some accent color! I think the babe is almost identifiable!

April 9

After another molt, we have some interesting changes!

Who could this baby be?!

My baby’s face is the same!

Can’t wait to see who this is!

April 8, 2019

Regular

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

Incoming: A “different” kind of caterpillar!

I am overjoyed and elated to announce these beautiful eggs, which I found in some elderberry leaves I was about to feed the cecropias (elderberry is popular!)

And yes, I said in the leaves. Look closer:

Here you can see each egg underneath a thin membrane of leaf tissue. What kind of insect lays its eggs inside the leaves? Lots of them, but one, in particular, has been hanging out on the elderberry plant for over a week straight, loving life and drinking elderberry nectar whenever she wants:

It wasn’t until I uploaded photos to iNat that I realized she could have been the mother, since I thought she was a wasp I didn’t recognize. I wasn’t too far off: she is a hymenopteran, like wasps, but she is a SAWFLY. My friends over on iNat have identified her as being in genus Macrophya, and three species in Texas feed on elderberry. So I was right about my hunch that the eggs were sawfly eggs, even if I didn’t realize their mom was still hanging out in my elderberry bush!

The photos above were from Saturday. On Sunday, guess what?

An eye!!!

I’ve talked about sawfly larvae before, and how they look very similar to caterpillars (they are often confused). I’ve attempted to rear them before (a different species) when I had an infestation on a vine in my yard, but I’ve never found eggs before. Exciting! I just need to make sure they don’t destroy my elderberry bush, the cecropias have dibs!

March 31/April 1, 2019

The Hatchening

Oh! Where is the baby?!

Here’s a nibble, he can’t be far. Let’s turn over the leaf. Maybe he’s hiding.

!!!!!!!!!! A baby!!!!!!

He very much wanted to be hiding, so he was very crawly when I was looking at him. See how tiny??!

He’s making a grand escape!

I went to get some fresh leaves for him, and figured I may as well bring in some of his siblings (I know his mom left a ton of eggs back there). I stopped myself at ten.

Eeeeeeeeee!!!!

April 2, 2019

It’s Raining Sawflies

So, every time I get elderberry for the cecropias, I end up finding a handful more sawfly eggs. I have at least 20 now, and they are all starting to hatch! The babies prefer to stay curled up in a little spiral under the leaves, but as soon as I pick them up for photoshoots, they uncurl and run away. The first baby is HUGE now!

April 4/5, 2019

nanonaturalist: nanonaturalist: Went to grab…

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

Went to grab some quick food for the Cecropia caterpillars, and the leaflet I randomly picked to feed them had A BABY on it! I have no idea who this is, though with the hairs, I’m guessing a tiger moth of some sort?

Caterpillar season is HERE!!! I’ve got three species going now! Plus the stick insects. Let’s see how overboard I go this year (please not too much 😭). I am NOT planting more milkweed and it appears my plants from last year did not survive (*phew!*)

I love caterpillars but they are soul-draining vampires and I am compelled to serve them beyond my will. Save me.

March 27, 2019

Molting already

They grow so fast

March 29, 2019

Again and again!

Post-molt glamour shots from March 31 (so beautiful!). But of course, baby molted AGAIN two days later!!

Hmmmmm I have no idea who this could be 😉

Tiger moth of some sort, probably Virginian.

April 2, 2019

Regular

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

The Official Cecropia Moth Life Cycle Post™

Buckle in kids, this one should be exciting and full of drama.

It all started with a text message. A friend out in Smithville (i.e. further out in the country than me) found some giant caterpillars:

I dropped everything to go see them. I lovingly adopted one caterpillar (who would turn out to be the female), and was also gifted with a cocoon (which held the male), one of many my friend found in her elderberry bush.

Winter came and went, the moths emerged, and got to business right away. They didn’t seem to mind that they were probably siblings.

The female laid eggs.

After about 20 days, they started to hatch:

They hatched three days ago.

Which brings us up to today. Most of them are out of their eggs by now. And they have started eating. I offered them a choice. Elm (good for me, I have lots of elm), or elderberry (please no it’s a baby I don’t have enough elderberry for 50 cecropias please no).

Here’s their little mini-home:

Elm (light green) vs elderberry (dark green)

Guess what the turds picked?

Of course.

My current plan is to grow the elderberry as much as I can (does the elderberry have favorite foods? Can I give it a ritual sacrifice? ???) and then return some of the caterpillars to the motherland when things get too ridiculous. I’m sure my friend will be super excited about that. And I can play with her bees when I visit, too!

Stay tuned (*sigh*)

March 19, 2019

Are they bigger?? They haven’t started Munchathon 2019 yet, but they are warming up, for sure.

March 21, 2019

They are bigger (and turning yellow)!

They finally turned their hungry on!

Not all my eggs hatched, so my “50” is greatly exaggerated. Looks like I have 13 if no more eggs hatch. A little more manageable. I can sneak them treats from my plum tree if I need to stretch the elderberry.

March 22/23, 2019

Baby’s First Molt

Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!

I just came home to find my first 2nd instar baby Cecropia! This was them this morning:

I had a feeling they were about to pop.

When they’re getting ready to molt, they will put down a silk mat to hold onto with their old skin (think velcro), while they crawl out of it. Then they hold real still for a few hours while their new head squeezes out of the old one so they have a hole to climb out of.

Here is the mat of one getting ready to molt:

In some species (and for older caterpillars), it can be more obvious, but you can usually see the silk when light shines on it. Here is the same caterpillar (side-view):

The silk mat is a little more obvious here. See how he looks like a fat sausage ready to pop?! (*whispers* it’s cuz he is).

March 26, 2019

So large!

I can’t believe how fast they grow! Elderberry bush is still holding out.

March 30, 2019

Another Molt?!

After they molted to second instar, some of them turned out to be banana flavored (!). Very nice! They are growing FAST! The oldest ones are already starting their molt to third instar!

The two who are molting are hanging out on the lid. It’s hard to see through all their silk, but the one on the little window is squeezing out of his old face. They should all be green in the third instar. Going to need to upgrade their home soon!

April 1, 2019

Aaahhhhhh!!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A couple more have molted as well, and a bunch more have started. This is third instar (there are five instars before this species pupates!).

This should be when they REALLY start to grow…

April 2, 2019

Regular

nanonaturalist:

Incoming: A “different” kind of caterpillar!

I am overjoyed and elated to announce these beautiful eggs, which I found in some elderberry leaves I was about to feed the cecropias (elderberry is popular!)

And yes, I said in the leaves. Look closer:

Here you can see each egg underneath a thin membrane of leaf tissue. What kind of insect lays its eggs inside the leaves? Lots of them, but one, in particular, has been hanging out on the elderberry plant for over a week straight, loving life and drinking elderberry nectar whenever she wants:

It wasn’t until I uploaded photos to iNat that I realized she could have been the mother, since I thought she was a wasp I didn’t recognize. I wasn’t too far off: she is a hymenopteran, like wasps, but she is a SAWFLY. My friends over on iNat have identified her as being in genus Macrophya, and three species in Texas feed on elderberry. So I was right about my hunch that the eggs were sawfly eggs, even if I didn’t realize their mom was still hanging out in my elderberry bush!

The photos above were from Saturday. On Sunday, guess what?

An eye!!!

I’ve talked about sawfly larvae before, and how they look very similar to caterpillars (they are often confused). I’ve attempted to rear them before (a different species) when I had an infestation on a vine in my yard, but I’ve never found eggs before. Exciting! I just need to make sure they don’t destroy my elderberry bush, the cecropias have dibs!

March 31/April 1, 2019

The Hatchening

Oh! Where is the baby?!

Here’s a nibble, he can’t be far. Let’s turn over the leaf. Maybe he’s hiding.

!!!!!!!!!! A baby!!!!!!

He very much wanted to be hiding, so he was very crawly when I was looking at him. See how tiny??!

He’s making a grand escape!

I went to get some fresh leaves for him, and figured I may as well bring in some of his siblings (I know his mom left a ton of eggs back there). I stopped myself at ten.

Eeeeeeeeee!!!!

April 2, 2019

Regular

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

The Official Cecropia Moth Life Cycle Post™

Buckle in kids, this one should be exciting and full of drama.

It all started with a text message. A friend out in Smithville (i.e. further out in the country than me) found some giant caterpillars:

I dropped everything to go see them. I lovingly adopted one caterpillar (who would turn out to be the female), and was also gifted with a cocoon (which held the male), one of many my friend found in her elderberry bush.

Winter came and went, the moths emerged, and got to business right away. They didn’t seem to mind that they were probably siblings.

The female laid eggs.

After about 20 days, they started to hatch:

They hatched three days ago.

Which brings us up to today. Most of them are out of their eggs by now. And they have started eating. I offered them a choice. Elm (good for me, I have lots of elm), or elderberry (please no it’s a baby I don’t have enough elderberry for 50 cecropias please no).

Here’s their little mini-home:

Elm (light green) vs elderberry (dark green)

Guess what the turds picked?

Of course.

My current plan is to grow the elderberry as much as I can (does the elderberry have favorite foods? Can I give it a ritual sacrifice? ???) and then return some of the caterpillars to the motherland when things get too ridiculous. I’m sure my friend will be super excited about that. And I can play with her bees when I visit, too!

Stay tuned (*sigh*)

March 19, 2019

Are they bigger?? They haven’t started Munchathon 2019 yet, but they are warming up, for sure.

March 21, 2019

They are bigger (and turning yellow)!

They finally turned their hungry on!

Not all my eggs hatched, so my “50” is greatly exaggerated. Looks like I have 13 if no more eggs hatch. A little more manageable. I can sneak them treats from my plum tree if I need to stretch the elderberry.

March 22/23, 2019

Baby’s First Molt

Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!

I just came home to find my first 2nd instar baby Cecropia! This was them this morning:

I had a feeling they were about to pop.

When they’re getting ready to molt, they will put down a silk mat to hold onto with their old skin (think velcro), while they crawl out of it. Then they hold real still for a few hours while their new head squeezes out of the old one so they have a hole to climb out of.

Here is the mat of one getting ready to molt:

In some species (and for older caterpillars), it can be more obvious, but you can usually see the silk when light shines on it. Here is the same caterpillar (side-view):

The silk mat is a little more obvious here. See how he looks like a fat sausage ready to pop?! (*whispers* it’s cuz he is).

March 26, 2019

So large!

I can’t believe how fast they grow! Elderberry bush is still holding out.

March 30, 2019

Another Molt?!

After they molted to second instar, some of them turned out to be banana flavored (!). Very nice! They are growing FAST! The oldest ones are already starting their molt to third instar!

The two who are molting are hanging out on the lid. It’s hard to see through all their silk, but the one on the little window is squeezing out of his old face. They should all be green in the third instar. Going to need to upgrade their home soon!

April 1, 2019

Regular

Incoming: A “different” kind of caterpillar!

I am overjoyed and elated to announce these beautiful eggs, which I found in some elderberry leaves I was about to feed the cecropias (elderberry is popular!)

And yes, I said in the leaves. Look closer:

Here you can see each egg underneath a thin membrane of leaf tissue. What kind of insect lays its eggs inside the leaves? Lots of them, but one, in particular, has been hanging out on the elderberry plant for over a week straight, loving life and drinking elderberry nectar whenever she wants:

It wasn’t until I uploaded photos to iNat that I realized she could have been the mother, since I thought she was a wasp I didn’t recognize. I wasn’t too far off: she is a hymenopteran, like wasps, but she is a SAWFLY. My friends over on iNat have identified her as being in genus Macrophya, and three species in Texas feed on elderberry. So I was right about my hunch that the eggs were sawfly eggs, even if I didn’t realize their mom was still hanging out in my elderberry bush!

The photos above were from Saturday. On Sunday, guess what?

An eye!!!

I’ve talked about sawfly larvae before, and how they look very similar to caterpillars (they are often confused). I’ve attempted to rear them before (a different species) when I had an infestation on a vine in my yard, but I’ve never found eggs before. Exciting! I just need to make sure they don’t destroy my elderberry bush, the cecropias have dibs!

March 31/April 1, 2019

I’m so glad it’s Lepidoptera reari…

I’m so glad it’s Lepidoptera rearing season on your blog again!! Your posts always bring me so much joy thank you!!!

Thanks! Here’s a Hackberry Emperor I found last night whyyyyy stop meeee

image

March 30, 2019

Regular

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

The Official Cecropia Moth Life Cycle Post™

Buckle in kids, this one should be exciting and full of drama.

It all started with a text message. A friend out in Smithville (i.e. further out in the country than me) found some giant caterpillars:

I dropped everything to go see them. I lovingly adopted one caterpillar (who would turn out to be the female), and was also gifted with a cocoon (which held the male), one of many my friend found in her elderberry bush.

Winter came and went, the moths emerged, and got to business right away. They didn’t seem to mind that they were probably siblings.

The female laid eggs.

After about 20 days, they started to hatch:

They hatched three days ago.

Which brings us up to today. Most of them are out of their eggs by now. And they have started eating. I offered them a choice. Elm (good for me, I have lots of elm), or elderberry (please no it’s a baby I don’t have enough elderberry for 50 cecropias please no).

Here’s their little mini-home:

Elm (light green) vs elderberry (dark green)

Guess what the turds picked?

Of course.

My current plan is to grow the elderberry as much as I can (does the elderberry have favorite foods? Can I give it a ritual sacrifice? ???) and then return some of the caterpillars to the motherland when things get too ridiculous. I’m sure my friend will be super excited about that. And I can play with her bees when I visit, too!

Stay tuned (*sigh*)

March 19, 2019

Are they bigger?? They haven’t started Munchathon 2019 yet, but they are warming up, for sure.

March 21, 2019

They are bigger (and turning yellow)!

They finally turned their hungry on!

Not all my eggs hatched, so my “50” is greatly exaggerated. Looks like I have 13 if no more eggs hatch. A little more manageable. I can sneak them treats from my plum tree if I need to stretch the elderberry.

March 22/23, 2019

Baby’s First Molt

Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!

I just came home to find my first 2nd instar baby Cecropia! This was them this morning:

I had a feeling they were about to pop.

When they’re getting ready to molt, they will put down a silk mat to hold onto with their old skin (think velcro), while they crawl out of it. Then they hold real still for a few hours while their new head squeezes out of the old one so they have a hole to climb out of.

Here is the mat of one getting ready to molt:

In some species (and for older caterpillars), it can be more obvious, but you can usually see the silk when light shines on it. Here is the same caterpillar (side-view):

The silk mat is a little more obvious here. See how he looks like a fat sausage ready to pop?! (*whispers* it’s cuz he is).

March 26, 2019

So large!

I can’t believe how fast they grow! Elderberry bush is still holding out.

March 30, 2019

Regular

sallythewise submitted:

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I saw these guys in Bastrop state park today and I’m not sure if they’re caterpillars or something else. Each one was roughly ¾ in and metallic. The last two pictures are of the plant they are on, unfortunately I do not know what it is either.


You’re right about these being babies, but they’re not caterpillars (they don’t have little suction cup prolegs, if you were to look for them). These guys are the larvae of a skeletonizing leaf beetle, which means they eat the leaves down to the veins, so it looks like a skeleton when they’re done. These beautiful metallic larvae belong to the Groundselbush Beetle, which eats… groundsel bush! I’ve never seen one, but a friend of mine has (I’m JEALOUS):

© Meghan Cassidy. Check out her observation on iNaturalist [link to source]

I have seen a cousin beetle larvae, in the genus Derospidea. Not as pretty, but still interesting!

I will have to head out to Bastrop State Park soon to take a peek at these guys! Thanks for asking! 😀

March 29, 2019