Category: lepidoptera

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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

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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

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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

Polyphemus moth caterpillars do an interpretiv…

Polyphemus moth caterpillars do an interpretive dance to celebrate the completion of every molt.

September 22, 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

And I thought I was done with butterflies 😂 F…

And I thought I was done with butterflies 😂 Found 5!! Queens (the largest I have ever seen out in the yard!) and the Gulf Fritillaries are still laying eggs on the passion vine.

Good thing, too. I’m visiting an elementary school in October and I was worried the Polyphemus moths would be in cocoons by then, but now I have lots of backups!

September 22, 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

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Fetal moths. Vine Sphinx eggs in the microscope today. They had started changing colors so I know I needed a closer look. Good thing I did!

Both were green striped this morning. By afternoon, one had turned yellow (the color of the developing caterpillar!), and the one that was still green had developed a visible heartbeat. The yellow one tested out his chompers!!! These caterpillars are the ones with the tails (aka “hornworms”), and you can see the yellow baby’s little tail curled up by his face.

By evening, the yellow one had hatched. So precious!

July 8, 2018

Right so this chompy baby? Still in the egg? From one week ago?

They grow SO FAST.

July 15, 2018

You’re a good caterpillar parent!!!

Awww thanks. I love my babies

Look how much he grew in ONE DAY!!!

Yesterday morning, I saw the baby was molting (again?! So soon?!). Look at his little face popping off!

This evening? All done! And, CHOCOLATE-flavored! Look how big! Remember, this is the babe who was IN THAT EGG 10 DAYS AGO.

For whatever reason, the three I raised in captivity (who molted in captivity) have turned brown in the final caterpillar stage, compared to the wild ones who were green. I’ve read the brown color is common in captive sphinx moths. Very interesting!

What a mess. Their poops are the size of chickpeas and they can strip a vine bare in no time.

One of the older sausages. I have to drag out the ladder to feed them now, they ate all the vine within my reach!

July 18, 2018

My tiny chompy baby, two weeks old:

July 22, 2018

I just got home today and guess what??

Where is baby??? Wait, that mound wasn’t there before… OH!!!! Baby made it all the way to the bottom 😭

(Above: bad photo of the hole he chewed in the paper towel base so I can watch him 😭)

Recently I was fondly remembering his birth, when I noticed his egg was empty… where did he go?!

He was scaling an empty Question Mark chrysalis. What, you don’t have those laying around? 😛

With his two older siblings. My squishy child is growing so fast 😭

July 23, 2018

It has been a while and I was getting concerned, so last night I dug into the dirt pile to check up on the baby.

Look at this dirt cocoon! Nice and spacious!

This rolly pupa is so cute! My baby was spinning around trying to get comfortable. I put him back in his dirt cocoon after I checked up on him. Nice and healthy!

August 18, 2018

It’s been A MONTH and my baby still hasn’t come out. Is he okay??? I had to check.

Yup he’s fine 😂 Just a late loomer for now.

September 19, 2018

ms-demeanor:@nanofishology “Yes, I’d like a mi…

ms-demeanor:

@nanofishology

“Yes, I’d like a milkshake please.”

Lunate Zale Moth from March [link] 
Posted September 19, 2018

Releasing butterflies during over a week of ra…

Releasing butterflies during over a week of rainstorms has NOT been easy! Yesterday, the last three of my milkweed babies emerged, two Queens and a Monarch. And I could not release them yesterday.

I was out birding all morning, and by the afternoon they were RESTLESS and I gave them some nectar since they were probably hungry. But the turds couldn’t find the nectar. When the weather cleared up, I took them outside, and two of them wanted to be hand-fed before they would leave me. Great chance to show a side-by-side comparison of the two species!

Ignore the color, focus on the pattern instead. Monarch (top) had black veins on the top wing (forewing), while the Queen has white dots only. The white patches on the Monarch are bordered with black, but have no border on the Queen.

The color and size of each species may vary, but the features I mention above are always the same. The Queen has a very restricted range, so unless you are in or near Texas, you are unlikely to meet a Queen.

September 15, 2018