“Looking Pretty on a Monday” Sphodromantis gastrica (African mantis) are growing up quick. L7 showcased. The patterns on the raptors are to die for. #sphodromantisgastrica #sphodromantis #africanmantis #commongreenmantis #prayingmantis #mantodea insects #arthropod #animals #wildlife #nature #entomology #alien #exoticpets #unusualpets #photography #MantisMonarch #camo #pattern
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!
The cutest baby rat is trying her hardest to drink some water, but the cutest baby cardinals keep scaring her. It’s almost as if birds *enjoy* being buttheads.
August 13, 2018
Thats a mouse 😀 baby rats look a bit different from them and are unlikely to be apart from their parents until an adolescent age which they’re a good bit larger. If i were to hazard a guess i’d say its a type of field mouse.
It very well could be! I trained my brain on Rat because I definitely do have a rat family in that spot which definitely is very fertile. They had young with them in early June. Might be too soon for another batch. This was the first time I saw this precious fluffball, so I don’t have higher quality images yet.
Is that a rescue stick because that’s the sweetest
I put sticks in so beetles and other clumsy fliers can get out. But they have also been used frequently by birds and wasps to perch on while drinking. I think the opossums keep knocking them out because I always have to put them back in the morning.
I added all the waters so I could get my yard certified / get my certified wildlife habitat sign. It just came in a few days ago 😀
Need to figure out where to hang it up so the neighbors can see it and not think I’m a crazy/lazy yard-neglecting nutjob (I mean, I am all those things but for a reason!)
oh i remember reading about those! if i ever have a place of my own id love to make it a certified wildlife habitat!!
in the meantime i have one 10’x10’ patch of neglect that doesnt meet the requirements. still fun though because even if it doesnt fit the requirements its still a fantastic bug habitat
There’s no size requirement! You’d be amazed how easy it is to create a healthy habitat for wildlife. And “wildlife” includes insects + other arthropods!
You could easily put up a couple bird feeders and set out some potted flowers to meet the food requirement. Water, you could set out a little shallow dish for bees and butterflies to puddle, just make sure it always has water in it. For shelter, you could have a “decorative” wood pile (stack of logs or twigs—maybe they could be the walls for your potted flowers?), and if your potted flowers are bushy enough for bugs to hide in, you’ve meet the requirements. Places to raise young includes host plants for caterpillars (which could be your potted flowers again!), and your “nesting box” could be a couple holes drilled into logs in your wood pile (for solitary bees). To meet sustainable practices, make sure your flowers are native to your area, and don’t use pesticides.
That’s it! It seems daunting, but creating a healthy habitat for wildlife is easier than you think!
Also, please eagerly anticipate Queen Pupation #2 video, which shows THE FACE-VIEW of a Queen caterpillar pupating (YES THERE IS A FACE!!!). I will update this post with the link to that video when I can get it up.
I got a ladder out at 1 am and climbed into a tree to get this fat sausage who keeps his arms completely retracted into his neck???
Vine Sphinx moth caterpillar
July 5, 2018 (3 am…)
I set up a nice viney enclosure for the fat sausage. You see the vine he’s on? He stripped it completely bare. When I came back to check on him later, he had managed to break the vine loose from the attachment (so fat!) and was just helplessly dangling on his barren vine.
I found more (different) caterpillars on some possum grape vines I intended to feed him, and found a BUNCH of eggs. My bet is they are more vine sphinx eggs. !!!
Above: the other babies (they look like grapeleaf skeletonizer moths, but there’s a second species that looks identical until adulthood)
Above: Vine Sphinx egg?!
July 6, 2018
Looks like my profile pic!
Hello @viral-inflection! Your profile pic is a Polyphemus Moth caterpillar! They are a type of silk moth (not closely related to sphinx moths), and they are also VERY large.
This bab turns into:
A beautiful large boy 😭
August 8, 2018
Holy hell! I didn’t know we had moths that beautiful where I live! I just saw it one day and took some pictures. Hope it grew up big and strong and had lots of babies!
Congratulations! The first one I ever saw flew past me while I was riding my bike at night. I thought it was a bat at first! They are pretty widespread. Here is the map of where people have seen them and uploaded them to iNaturalist [link]:
And that is just for one species! There are many more moths in the same family (Saturniidae), which includes Luna moths and Io moths. Here is where you can expect to find Saturniids in North America (again, based on iNaturalist uploads)[link]:
Keep in mind, each red dot is where somebody saw a moth, took a photo, and then uploaded to iNaturalist with location data. Any blank spots on the map may just be places where people don’t use iNaturalist as frequently, and there may still be plenty of moths around!
Just keep looking, and you’ll find them eventually 😀
And what is this iNat thing, anyway? It’s awesome. I’m this nutjob [link to profile](50 observations away from #15,000!). If anyone reading this is interested in contributing, either by adding photos, doing IDs for other people, or both, send me a message over there and I can help you get started!