Category: moths

nanonaturalist: nanonaturalist: nanonaturali…

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

I had an “assignment” from an entomologist at the California Department of Agriculture to rear a particular species of slug moth (Euclea incisa, not present in California so he can’t do it himself) and document variations in caterpillars from different broods. No problem! I said.

He probably didn’t expect embryonic development updates.

The eggs of this species are completely transparent and flat, so checking in was easy and SO COOL.

Anyways these babes are one of the stinging slug caterpillars, and they don’t have prolegs (?!), check out that last gif. Mom of these ones is in the last photo. They are super tiny, microscope shots are magnified 50x.

Said Californian entomologist is a Good Dude and offered to help me write up the paper without author credit on the babes. I can’t get an entomology job without an entomology degree, but I wonder how many single-author papers I can publish to substitute for one (probably none lol).

May 17, 2019

Spiny slug baby updates

The purpose of this “experiment” is to see if there are differences in how the caterpillars look between different batches of eggs, but I’m going to go insane keeping track of that here AND on iNat, so here are a bunch of unlabeled random slug babies! Microscope shots are all magnified 20x in this batch.

Arranged from youngest to oldest. They get spinier and stingier as they grow!

Jellypillar!!!!

Look! You can see them without the microscope now!!! And I am totally raising them in a parmesan container, they are too small to keep in anything else.

At their largest, they are about the size of a jelly bean. A… spiny jelly bean. Do not eat.

May 18, 2018

Spiny Slug Jellypillar Update

He monch

Wheeeeeee!

Save me

It’s warm enough in my house that I am constantly fighting against mold in their little containers, but if they are molting I can’t move them off a moldy leaf. It’s a situation. I upgraded the big batch of them to a salad bin (formerly in a parmesan container). The rest of the babies are in sauce cups.

Wecome to my salad bar!

May 26, 2019

The worst salad? Or…

the best salad?

They’re so cute save me how are there so many where did they come from

This isn’t even all of them

June 10, 2019

Some updates!

COCOONS EVERYWHERE

also

@thedaeyoung holy carp yes they do

Last night I was up too late doing emergency caterpillar feeding. I need to switch their enclosure over but I don’t have a clean one and I can’t eat the salad I bought fast enough to move them into that container, and there’s a lot of mold growing at the bottom of this one. I was worried about cocoons getting moldy, feeding leaves to caterpillars, and I accidentally bumped a baby with my finger.

OUCH!

The sting was worse than an io moth caterpillar sting! It wasn’t a very hard bump though, I’m sure a proper sting would be much more painful. Very impressive!

June 18, 2019

Regular

@jupiterpeachess asked:

Hi! Yesterday I found an emperor moth that was being pecked at by a bird, so I picked her up and her wing was broken and she was having a hard time moving. Before she died, she laid 3 eggs, and I want to hatch them and care for them, but I dont know where to start! Google is not much help at all, but I did see your emperor moth post on google that helped me identify the eggs 😊

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

—-

I answered a question similar to this last night [link to post].

I’m not 100% sure which moth species the “emperor moth” is. I’m assuming it’s one of the silk moths, and I’ve raised a few of those! The bugguide pages are great places to start for finding which host plants to try out. If you link me to the post of mine you found, I can give you more specific tips!

Good luck!

June 17, 2019

Hey, I had gotten hornworms for my lizard to e…

Hey, I had gotten hornworms for my lizard to eat but he ended up not liking them, so I raised them, and two ended up going into pupation. One has hatched, but the middle section of its chrysalis seems to have fused to its body, and its been 2 days and its wings haven't "developed". Ik it's not going to have a good quality of life, as there's no chance for it to ever fly. Should I put it down by placing it in the fridge? I just feel so bad. And do u know why this could've happened?

Aww, I’m so sorry, that’s terrible. I know exactly how you feel, nature is full of tragedies, and my freezer is *full* of moths with stumpy little wings 😞 The fridge isn’t cold enough, but the freezer will do the trick, and is a standard way to humanely euthanize insects.

Why did this happen? In short: humidity (probably). It’s humid outside. Even when it’s dry, you’ll get dew forming when the temperature drops. Insects in pupation stages can’t move around to get water, so they rely on humidity to stay hydrated. If they dry out, their pupal skin can become attached, and if it takes them too long to emerge from the pupa, they can miss their chance to expand their wings. It’s all very time-sensitive!

The flip-side: they can’t get *too wet*, or mold can form, or their wings can get floppy and never straighten out. I had some Polyphemus moths who emerged from cocoons I over-sprayed (their siblings couldn’t emerge at all!), but their wings stayed floppy and wrinkly.

The ultimate best option is to rear outdoors or in an uninsulated garage, but in a protected enclosure out of direct sunlight (and protected against tiny parasitic wasps!). This isn’t really feasible at my house (everything is in direct sunlight), but if you can manage it, your babies will have access to natural humidity and temperature fluctuations. An alternative is to get a humidity meter and keep it in the enclosure—make sure it’s in a good range to keep them from drying out, especially if you have air conditioning in your house.

I’m so sorry about your baby 🙁 It’s nothing you did wrong, it happens to me all the time but I don’t post about the tragedies because I don’t want to make people sad. Insect lives are short and precious, and most don’t make it as far as yours did (especially if they were sold as food!). I’m happy you were able to experience strange journey of the sphinx moth, even if it didn’t end as triumphantly as you’d hoped.

June 17, 2019

Hey, I had gotten hornworms for my lizard to e…

Hey, I had gotten hornworms for my lizard to eat but he ended up not liking them, so I raised them, and two ended up going into pupation. One has hatched, but the middle section of its chrysalis seems to have fused to its body, and its been 2 days and its wings haven't "developed". Ik it's not going to have a good quality of life, as there's no chance for it to ever fly. Should I put it down by placing it in the fridge? I just feel so bad. And do u know why this could've happened?

Aww, I’m so sorry, that’s terrible. I know exactly how you feel, nature is full of tragedies, and my freezer is *full* of moths with stumpy little wings 😞 The fridge isn’t cold enough, but the freezer will do the trick, and is a standard way to humanely euthanize insects.

Why did this happen? In short: humidity (probably). It’s humid outside. Even when it’s dry, you’ll get dew forming when the temperature drops. Insects in pupation stages can’t move around to get water, so they rely on humidity to stay hydrated. If they dry out, their pupal skin can become attached, and if it takes them too long to emerge from the pupa, they can miss their chance to expand their wings. It’s all very time-sensitive!

The flip-side: they can’t get *too wet*, or mold can form, or their wings can get floppy and never straighten out. I had some Polyphemus moths who emerged from cocoons I over-sprayed (their siblings couldn’t emerge at all!), but their wings stayed floppy and wrinkly.

The ultimate best option is to rear outdoors or in an uninsulated garage, but in a protected enclosure out of direct sunlight (and protected against tiny parasitic wasps!). This isn’t really feasible at my house (everything is in direct sunlight), but if you can manage it, your babies will have access to natural humidity and temperature fluctuations. An alternative is to get a humidity meter and keep it in the enclosure—make sure it’s in a good range to keep them from drying out, especially if you have air conditioning in your house.

I’m so sorry about your baby 🙁 It’s nothing you did wrong, it happens to me all the time but I don’t post about the tragedies because I don’t want to make people sad. Insect lives are short and precious, and most don’t make it as far as yours did (especially if they were sold as food!). I’m happy you were able to experience strange journey of the sphinx moth, even if it didn’t end as triumphantly as you’d hoped.

June 17, 2019

911 HELP PLEASE (bug related!)

bowelflies:

avariea:

SO i just saved a imperial moth from the middle of a 4 lane road. I brought her home to put her behind my house when i realized that she was ACTIVELY LAYING DOZENS OF EGGS!!! 

I would love to take care of these little eggs as a way to teach my daughter more about the local fauna but i have NO idea how to take care of these little buds…

PLEASE HELP Q__Q

paging @nanonaturalist

It’s that time of year, when the Saturniids start laying eggs all over the side of your house… I’ve got one of these asks in my inbox I need to get to (although I think it’s about the same moth so hey!)

First off, ASAP you need to remove the eggs (or if the lady is still around, put her in a paper bag to get eggs on something easier to deal with). The eggs are glued on with special moth resin, but eggs can be gently pried off fairly easily. I pick them off with my hands because it’s easiest to not squish them like it would be with tools.

Second, you need to locate a nearby host plant. Saturniids are usually pretty easy, especially because so many people raise them and document what they eat. The bugguide page for imperial moth has an example list of trees they munch leaves from [link]. Just giving leaves isn’t good enough, you need to give fresh leaves. Keep them from drying out somehow. Newly hatched caterpillars can be kept in small containers with lids (don’t poke holes! They have enough air and keeping in moisture is your goal!). But clean out containers daily, make sure mold doesn’t grow, give fresh leaves, etc.

Larger caterpillars will eat entire branches full of leaves bare before they can dry out, and I will keep these in pop-up laundry hampers (which they will also make cocoons in and emerge from as moths). When your caterpillars get larger than your thumb and you have an armful of them, you run out of aquarium space and have to get creative! If you have a host plant in your yard, you can sleeve: put the caterpillars on the plant, then cover the branch in a netting that birds and predators can’t penetrate (remember parasitic wasps are tiny!). All you need to do is make sure there’s enough food in the netting for them, and move it around for them as needed.

One thing to keep in mind, if you are raising indoors: air conditioning dried out the air significantly. Your eggs and caterpillars might need to get misted with water to stay hydrated.

Lots of people raise moths and butterflies. If there’s a garden club in your area, chances are there are butterfly and moth people there who can give you pointers.

Good luck!!

June 17, 2019

nanonaturalist: caterpillar-gifs: Euclea inc…

nanonaturalist:

caterpillar-gifs:

Euclea incisa slug moth caterpillars

Top gif: heartbeat in a caterpillar visible before molting
Other gifs: restless caterpillar seeks out a pupation spot (his heartbeat was also visible, though harder to see in the gifs)

They grow so fast!

June 16, 2019

PS

Here is the cocoon of our restless fellow (and his final poops):

Also, he monch (look at his little bum in the lower right corner!).

The slug moths hide their faces so they will hold their leaves with opposable face flaps that look like giant lips. It’s like if you wore a hoodie laced mostly shut and ate by putting food into the narrow opening of the hood.

June 16, 2019

caterpillar-gifs: Euclea incisa slug moth cat…

caterpillar-gifs:

Euclea incisa slug moth caterpillars

Top gif: heartbeat in a caterpillar visible before molting
Other gifs: restless caterpillar seeks out a pupation spot (his heartbeat was also visible, though harder to see in the gifs)

They grow so fast!

June 16, 2019

nanonaturalist: nanonaturalist: nanonaturali…

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

I had an “assignment” from an entomologist at the California Department of Agriculture to rear a particular species of slug moth (Euclea incisa, not present in California so he can’t do it himself) and document variations in caterpillars from different broods. No problem! I said.

He probably didn’t expect embryonic development updates.

The eggs of this species are completely transparent and flat, so checking in was easy and SO COOL.

Anyways these babes are one of the stinging slug caterpillars, and they don’t have prolegs (?!), check out that last gif. Mom of these ones is in the last photo. They are super tiny, microscope shots are magnified 50x.

Said Californian entomologist is a Good Dude and offered to help me write up the paper without author credit on the babes. I can’t get an entomology job without an entomology degree, but I wonder how many single-author papers I can publish to substitute for one (probably none lol).

May 17, 2019

Spiny slug baby updates

The purpose of this “experiment” is to see if there are differences in how the caterpillars look between different batches of eggs, but I’m going to go insane keeping track of that here AND on iNat, so here are a bunch of unlabeled random slug babies! Microscope shots are all magnified 20x in this batch.

Arranged from youngest to oldest. They get spinier and stingier as they grow!

Jellypillar!!!!

Look! You can see them without the microscope now!!! And I am totally raising them in a parmesan container, they are too small to keep in anything else.

At their largest, they are about the size of a jelly bean. A… spiny jelly bean. Do not eat.

May 18, 2018

Spiny Slug Jellypillar Update

He monch

Wheeeeeee!

Save me

It’s warm enough in my house that I am constantly fighting against mold in their little containers, but if they are molting I can’t move them off a moldy leaf. It’s a situation. I upgraded the big batch of them to a salad bin (formerly in a parmesan container). The rest of the babies are in sauce cups.

Wecome to my salad bar!

May 26, 2019

The worst salad? Or…

the best salad?

They’re so cute save me how are there so many where did they come from

This isn’t even all of them

June 10, 2019

nanonaturalist: nanonaturalist: nanonaturali…

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

caterpillar-gifs:

Ruddy Dagger Moth caterpillar, extra twitchy

I didn’t realize until I came back inside and looked over the photos, but twitchy baby was molting!

I think this is the first time I’ve found one of these caterpillars in my yard! Nice!

June 3, 2019

I couldn’t help myself. The next night I went back.

I adopted the baby (can you find his sister in the photo? She’s camouflaged!)

Since I don’t know how these moths pupate, I tried to look it up. Note keyword “tried.” The closest I got was a note about another species digging a burrow in the cedar siding on a house and making a cocoon there. Some moths prefer to pupate underground, and some of the furry moths are content to make cocoons wherever. So I gave the baby options!

This is the enclosure set-up I have. It’s an aquarium on its side with fine-weave mesh fabric held in place over the opening with a tight elastic loop. Very inexpensive! Paper towel on the bottom. Small critter carrier with peat moss inside, and the water-filled pill bottle (topped with press-n-seal) holding the hackberry branch is in there so he could climb down and burrow.

Behind the pill bottle in the dirt-filled critter carrier is a small piece of pine bark. It’s not really visible. In case the baby goes wandering, or it’s not big enough, I put a much larger piece of pine bark next to the carrier.

I hope he likes it!

June 5, 2019

NAUGHTY

I was about to leave for a pool party and I saw this. Wait a minute…

The baby escaped (squeezed under the elastic band holding the fabric on the tank), got covered in spider webs with the spider still attached, and was wandering around the ceiling in the bug room.

Look at the color change of his hair though! He must have molted!

I put the baby BACK in the enclocure, sealed the fabric on with tape, and when I got back home, he was frantically wandering around his piece of bark. I might pull off another chunk for him. They get restless when they are about to pupate.

He really doesn’t look anything like he did before, I hope he’s okay. I also will be totally unsurprised if I look in the tank more closely and see two caterpillars inside.

June 8, 2019

Important update

What’s this? Sawdust?

It’s official: Ruddy Dagger moths make wood pulp cocoons 👍

June 8, 2019

Turning me into a Liar

The cocoon is a mix of hair and wood pulp + a leaf for spice

I don’t know why the leaf was brought into this, possibly for cover while the baby was busy with excavations?

June 9, 2019

nanonaturalist: nanonaturalist: nanonaturalis…

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

caterpillar-gifs:

Ruddy Dagger Moth caterpillar, extra twitchy

I didn’t realize until I came back inside and looked over the photos, but twitchy baby was molting!

I think this is the first time I’ve found one of these caterpillars in my yard! Nice!

June 3, 2019

I couldn’t help myself. The next night I went back.

I adopted the baby (can you find his sister in the photo? She’s camouflaged!)

Since I don’t know how these moths pupate, I tried to look it up. Note keyword “tried.” The closest I got was a note about another species digging a burrow in the cedar siding on a house and making a cocoon there. Some moths prefer to pupate underground, and some of the furry moths are content to make cocoons wherever. So I gave the baby options!

This is the enclosure set-up I have. It’s an aquarium on its side with fine-weave mesh fabric held in place over the opening with a tight elastic loop. Very inexpensive! Paper towel on the bottom. Small critter carrier with peat moss inside, and the water-filled pill bottle (topped with press-n-seal) holding the hackberry branch is in there so he could climb down and burrow.

Behind the pill bottle in the dirt-filled critter carrier is a small piece of pine bark. It’s not really visible. In case the baby goes wandering, or it’s not big enough, I put a much larger piece of pine bark next to the carrier.

I hope he likes it!

June 5, 2019

NAUGHTY

I was about to leave for a pool party and I saw this. Wait a minute…

The baby escaped (squeezed under the elastic band holding the fabric on the tank), got covered in spider webs with the spider still attached, and was wandering around the ceiling in the bug room.

Look at the color change of his hair though! He must have molted!

I put the baby BACK in the enclocure, sealed the fabric on with tape, and when I got back home, he was frantically wandering around his piece of bark. I might pull off another chunk for him. They get restless when they are about to pupate.

He really doesn’t look anything like he did before, I hope he’s okay. I also will be totally unsurprised if I look in the tank more closely and see two caterpillars inside.

June 8, 2019

Important update

What’s this? Sawdust?

It’s official: Ruddy Dagger moths make wood pulp cocoons 👍

June 8, 2019