Category: lepidoptera

Variegated Fritillary, before and after The …

Variegated Fritillary, before and after

The orange spots on the chrysalis are metallic
One day apart, chrysalis May 20, butterfly May 21, 2019

honeymushroom:a selection of moths with extrem…

honeymushroom:

a selection of moths with extremely good names. tag yourself im saucy beauty 

I couldn’t help myself, here’s more

I’m Chalky Bird Dropping

May 21, 2019

On Insect Intelligence

People like me who spend a lot of time with insects tend to develop a bond with them. I get very attached to my caterpillars and the bugs in my yard, and watching their behavior sometimes makes you think there’s a brain in there.

And then… they do things like this:

This is a Variegated Fritillary butterfly. This is the first time I’ve ever seen one in my yard (I’m SO CLOSE TO 1,000 SPECIES!!!). She is laying eggs on the passion vine that is sprouting in my garden. I have a couple vines that have started up and are several feet long. Is she laying eggs on that one? No. She’s laying eggs on these. Repeatedly.

The Gulf Fritillary caterpillars I’ve raised can destroy an entire leaf in a few hours. *sigh* 

I guess when ya gotta go, ya gotta go.

She also laid eggs in the passion vine with the fire ant mound around it.

I pulled up this dinky little passion vine sprout and potted it. I’ll at least give these four little caterpillars a chance! Let’s see if I can grow this vine faster than they can eat it!

April 9, 2019

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

patchesthecryptid submitted:

I found a smol!

image

Little butterfly. No more than half an inch long. Found him in Las Vegas, NV. Teeny tiny friend.


Beautiful Gray Hairstreak butterfly [link to BugGuide]!

Here’s one I saw in Georgetown, TX last year:

I’ve also *cough* caught a couple of them in my yard at night

These are very small butterflies so you normally might not notice, but check out those noses!

This is the most common species of hairstreak butterfly in North America, and it is widespread from Canada to Mexico.

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:

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

cablefucker69:

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

What region are you in? I’m in the midwest myself and my cecropias aren’t due to eclose until late April, and you already have third instar cats? Do you get two broods a year where you live?

Hello there! I am in central Texas (just outside Austin), and my caterpillars are still second instar. The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center’s eggs haven’t started hatching yet, so there is a variation in timing, even in my area. We do not get two broods a year, our cecropias make cocoons in late May/June and stay there until the next March.

I would like to share a great tool for tracking insect life cycles (especially if you don’t know if a species of interest has two broods a year!). iNaturalist! Check it out [link]:

That graph in the lower right corner? That’s a life cycle chart. Each color corresponds to a different life stage. Blue is adult moth, and orange is caterpillar. I have this graph filtered to just show data from Texas, because that’s where I am, and it’s clear that we only have one generation a year!

Compare that to the Polyphemus Moth [link]:

Look, two generations a year!

There is one issue with these charts, and it’s that they rely on people annotating their observations in iNaturalist with life cycle information (tagging their observations as “adult” or “larva,” etc). Anybody can tag observations, so when I want to know how many generations a species has, I’ll go through the observations from Texas and tag them, then check out the chart. It helped me figure out when to expect my Io moths to emerge!

Good luck with your moths! 

March 30, 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