Category: complete metamorphosis

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

nanonaturalist: Went to grab some quick food …

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

Went to grab some quick food for the Cecropia …

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

patchesthecryptid: earthstory: earthstory: W…

patchesthecryptid:

earthstory:

earthstory:

Well then.

labdibiologia O besouro antes de ser besouro como a gente conhece é uma larva. Alguns besouros são imensos, até mesmo na fase de larva. Este é o desenvolvimento de um besouro-hércules! Deve comer pouco o bichinho… Compartilhem @labdibiologia

This post appeared yesterday but was blocked for several hours due to being labeled as sexual content, so no one saw it.

@nanonaturalist @xarvaxx LOOK AT THIS LARGE LAD! An absolute UNIT!

I KNOW right???? How could you NOT spend ALL DAY just KISSING that LOVELY GRUB???? I would never get ANYTHING DONE

December 19, 2018

regnum-plantae: Raising Pieris brassicae When …

regnum-plantae:

Raising Pieris brassicae

When I sat one of the RHS horticulture exams last February I had to describe and illustrate the life cycle of the large white, a common pest of vegetables in the Brassicaceae family. Although I had to learn it from books, I had never had a chance to observe all its stages in person so, when I spotted one of these common butterflies taking shelter and depositing her eggs under the leaves of the nasturtium (Tropaleum majus) in my window boxes, I took it upon myself to try and raise them to adulthood. I had never raised butterflies before, so I was particularly excited. 

The tiny yellow eggs hatched in four days and the caterpillars started feeding voraciously on the fresh nasturtium leaves I was providing daily. They grew rapidly and soon started showing their typical mottled yellow/black/green colouration, which is supposed to discourage predators and warn them of their foul taste, acquired due to the mustard oil present in their preferred plants. After two weeks they started pupating: watching the pupae emerge from the skin of the last instar was incredible and something I had never seen before. The soft pupae, already showing the future wing structure, began hardening up and the first butterflies emerged after ten days. They seemed to wait until I wasn’t looking to pop out, so I only caught one halfway through the process and it happened so quickly I couldn’t take a photo. Last night, not long before sunset, I finally released all those that were ready to fly, exactly a month after the eggs were laid. Some immediately flew away, others seemed a bit torpid, probably due to the temperature excursion, so I left them in the shelter of some tall Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera), hoping for the best. 

I said this before when I raised common frogs (Rana temporaria) last year: animal metamorphosis is an unbelievable natural process which is absolutely worth seeing with your own eyes, I have learnt so much and I can’t wait to raise butterflies again!  

They are so beautiful and I love them so much. Congratulations!!! 😭

August 24, 2018

nanonaturalist: After work today, I drove two…

nanonaturalist:

After work today, I drove two hours to rescue these three Snowberry Clearwing caterpillars.

Last week, I filled in as guest speaker for a garden club after their scheduled insect expert cancelled last-minute. Had a great time with them, and in exchange for filling in, I was gifted plentiful plants for my garden. But the best gift of all was the gift of friendship. And by friendship, I mean when people find caterpillars they ask me if I want them 😀

One of the garden club people works in a nursery, and she found these caterpillars on the honeysuckle. They couldn’t stay, because they were eating the merchandise, but they’re so fun she couldn’t bear to hurt them. Snowberry Clearwings are sphinx moths that are often mistaken for bumblebees and/or hummingbirds. I won’t usually take caterpillars I don’t find in my yard, because if I don’t have the host plant easily accessible, it’s hard to keep them fat and happy. But I have a honeysuckle bush! And I can’t say no to these cuties!!! The garden club is based in a town 60 miles from my work, so it was a bit of a trip, but worth it!

June 19, 2018

image

Hi there! These caterpillars are related! They are all Sphinx moths, family Sphingidae. This includes hornworms, hummingbird moths, and hawkmoths. They all have the “tail” (or “horn”), but some of the species drop the tail with their last molt as a caterpillar.

I have a little bit of a collection of caterpillar/adult photo pairings, though not nearly as big as I’d like it to be! 

Snowberry Clearwing, Hemaris diffinis (The babies in the original post have grown up!)

Pink-spotted Hawkmoth, Agrius cingulata

Rustic Sphinx, Manduca rustica

Vine Sphinx, Eumorpha vitis

And last but not least, Tobacco Hornworm! They are very similar to the Tomato Hornworm–the difference: Tobaccos have the red tail, Tomatoes have the blue/black tail. Opposite of what you would guess! Both will eat your tomatoes, though. The adult Tobacco Hornworm is known as the Carolina Sphinx, Manduca sexta

August 23, 2018

Another day, another naughty caterpillar. This…

Another day, another naughty caterpillar. This one escaped and by the time I found him, he was prepupal and had already made his little silk pad—see the top photo between his 2nd and 3rd row of prolegs. Preupal caterpillars have already begun to develop their pupal anatomy (evidenced by their color change and change on body texture), and you can’t really mess with them at that point. At least with the silk pad there, I knew he wasn’t going to wander any more!

When I came back to check of him, he had moved up and was gripping his pad with his rear prolegs! As they prepare for pupation, they will suspend themselves from the pad, upside down for many species. He was starting the dangle, but wasn’t quite there yet. I left for a few minutes, and came back to a curious mid-dangle. On closer inspection, one of the little tiny hooks on a proleg had been caught on a single strand of silk he laid down earlier.

This is a kind of error that can result in tragedy—caterpillars who have unusual pupations are prone to injuries from falling or from their caterpillar skin getting stuck to their chrysalis, and these issues can result in disfigurement or worse 😥 But luckily all I had to do was snip that single silk strand with scissors, and everything was back to normal with a perfect-scoring dangle 😍

This is a Gulf Fritillary babe. My prior predictions of a barren passion vine were unfounded. My passion vine is so absolutely massive I had to spend all day Sunday building a new trellis for it, and I have fritillary cats coming out of my EARS. I will never tire of them, though. They are gorgeous.

August 22, 2018

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EMERGENCY POST!!!
Adorable baby milkweed butterflies are READY TO BE BORN!!!

I am not sure if these are Monarch or Queen butterflies, and it DOESN’T MATTER because BOTH ARE FAT AND STUMPY with good A+ stripes and wiggly bits.

I love watching my butterfly fetuses move around and practice chomping before they hatch 😭

August ¾, 2018 (hey it’s 2 am I don’t know what day to call this!)

Good News!

It’s a Queen! Queens are closely related to monarchs and look very similar, but Queens have 3 pairs of tentacles, while Monarchs have 2:

(Above: Monarch baby, one set of tentacles by the head, the other set by his booty)

I didn’t realize they were born with them! A lot of newborn caterpillars look the same when they are born and I’m used to waiting until the first molt to know for sure.

Never seen a Queen before and have no idea what I’m talking about? That’s okay! Queens mostly stick to the south (they are not nearly as widespread as Monarchs), so if you haven’t spent much time in the southern edges of the US, you wouldn’t be familiar with them.

Left: Queen (white spots on the top wing!) Right: Monarch (black veins on the top wing!)

I’m excited, I’ve never seen a Queen caterpillar before! But…

Bad News!

The newborn baby milkweed butterflies… are cannibalistic. I thought the eggs on the leaf were far enough away from each other:

I was wrong. This morning, I had the happy little caterpillar you see above and a hole in the leaf where the other egg had been.

This wasn’t a case of “hungry newborn baby eats leaf and accidentally consumes sibling,” this caterpillar went out of her way to murder.

Stat tuned

August 4, 2018

Wait wait never mind he was just lost!!!!

Moar updates

There are a total of four baby Queens, they grew their first stripes, and they are starting their first molt! I can’t wait for their cute little stumpy tentacles to get longer!

August 6, 2018

image

The most precious bab

August 8, 2018

Third instar already?

Look at those tentacly bits 😭

August 9, 2018 (morning)

They grow so fast!

Perfect in every way 💛🖤💛

August 9, 2018 (evening)

Back to the Microscope!

I can’t even handle this 😭

August 10, 2018

Y’all

The microscope pics were from this morning. I’m home from work now

And

They’re all molting again

August 10, 2018

This season’s hottest trend:

Tentacles

Queens are now 4th instar (caterpillars usually pupate after their 5th)

August 11, 2018

SO LARGE after less than 12 hours!!!

August 11, 2018 (night)

Also checkout the gifset of these guys I posted separately! [link]

Good morning!

One of the Queens relocated to the side of the tank and will not move. Usually this is a sign of an upcoming molt. So soon?! They’re so big!

August 12, 2018 (morning)

Good evening!

I didn’t notice the yellow mustache before. They didn’t explode with growth today (or so I think). But they are much easier to kiss now. :X

August 12, 2018 (evening)

Look at their little white socks 😭

Somebody had attached their leaf to the lid of their enclosure with silk, and I rudely detached it when I took it off to feed them this morning. Sorry baby!

August 13, 2018 (morning)

I hope they grow up soon because this Queen Caterpillar Livepost Extravaganza is getting LOOOONG!

Looks like the last molt, unless I counted wrong and I wake up to three chrysalids! Exciting! They got really scrunched up, which I don’t remember from earlier molts. I kinda do want a few more days of caterpillars because they are not quite fat enough for me.

August 13, 2018 (evening)

EMERGENCY

QUEENS ARE DANGLING. I REPEAT. QUEENS ARE DANGLING.

We’re PUATING TONIGHT!!!! (Guess I counted wrong after all!)

August 13, 2018

Today is The Day

They’re gonna do it!!!!

August 14, 2018 (morning)

THEY’RE HERE!!!

I caught two pupating on video, one right after the other (!!!). The gifs are from the video, the photos are about an hour after pupation. They change their shape quite a bit when they harden into a chrysalis!

Will post the video when I have internet, but for now please enjoy these gifs 😭

Sidenote: I’m wearing my moth shirt. I think it’s good luck!

August 14, 2018

Wow this is long

Anyway, FIRST PUPATION VIDEO IS UP!!! [link]

Update: the whole video is also up!!!

August 14, 2018

FRIENDS!!!

I’m so tired and exhausted, all I wanted to do was sleep, UNTIL I checked on the babies one last time.

Guess!!!!!

The wings typically show through the night before the butterfly emerges. 😭

My next round of royalty should be hatching in the next few days (I have a mix of monarch and queen eggs!)

August 21st-ish

Almost here!

The butterfly appears fully formed at this point, you can see through the chrysalis that all the distinct features of the head and antennae have separated from the body. Notice the two gold spots at the bottom of the chrysalis—inside those parts are the butterfly’s eyes.

Only a matter of time! I need to leave for an appointment in a minute, so I guess we both get to go on an adventure! 😀

August 21, 2018

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

She started coming out right as my appointment started, so both me and my massage therapist got to watch her emerge. She was much slower than all the other butterflies who POP OUT and you miss it if you blink. My phone ran out of space (oops!), so no photos of the emergence. Good thing I have more of them!!!

Her wings are still soft. I’ll post more photos after I release her, and then that will be the end of *this* thread. There will be more, though!

Thank you all for coming on this journey with me! ❤️😭😘

August 21, 2018

The End

Queen released August 21 / Posted August 22, 2018

Hey this is probably a super lame question but…

Hey this is probably a super lame question but is it true that caterpillars liquify to become butterflies in the chrysalis? Thank you!!

Not a stupid question at all! I don’t know the details off the top of my head, but my understanding is that you are correct. When the chrysalis first forms, you can see a lot of the inner structure of the caterpillar’s insides (especially when backlit! I have photos, need to dig them up, though), but this disappears pretty quickly. As the butterfly becomes more developed, you can start to see signs of the new anatomy. This is most apparent after the scales on the wings develop, and the wing colors show through the mostly transparent chrysalis.

But what happens between these two stages? Nothing comes in or goes out of the chrysalis, and the easiest way to reuse materials is to break them down into essential components! It’s easier to reknit a sweater if you unravel the old one, and it’s easier to rebuild an insect if you liquefy it (or, rather, it liquefies itself). Living organisms are largely just organized proteins, chemicals, and minerals in water.

Thanks for asking!
August 21, 2018

Hey this is probably a super lame question but…

Hey this is probably a super lame question but is it true that caterpillars liquify to become butterflies in the chrysalis? Thank you!!

Not a stupid question at all! I don’t know the details off the top of my head, but my understanding is that you are correct. When the chrysalis first forms, you can see a lot of the inner structure of the caterpillar’s insides (especially when backlit! I have photos, need to dig them up, though), but this disappears pretty quickly. As the butterfly becomes more developed, you can start to see signs of the new anatomy. This is most apparent after the scales on the wings develop, and the wing colors show through the mostly transparent chrysalis.

But what happens between these two stages? Nothing comes in or goes out of the chrysalis, and the easiest way to reuse materials is to break them down into essential components! It’s easier to reknit a sweater if you unravel the old one, and it’s easier to rebuild an insect if you liquefy it (or, rather, it liquefies itself). Living organisms are largely just organized proteins, chemicals, and minerals in water.

Thanks for asking!
August 21, 2018