Category: science

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

“No Means No” Phyllocrania paradox…

“No Means No” Phyllocrania paradoxa (ghost mantis) adult male refusing a second fly.
#phyllocraniaparadoxa #ghost #prayingmantis #mantodea #mantis #nature #wildlife #animals #insect #bugs #science #entomology #photography #exotic #pet #alien #mantismonarch #nymph #grumpy #threatdisplay #mantismonday
https://www.instagram.com/p/By0_cuEBxG_/?igshid=1rtavkazv6r4w

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

“Have a good weekend!” Pseudocreob…

“Have a good weekend!” Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii (spiny flower mantis) adult female.
#pseudocreobotrawahlbergii #spinyflowermantis #prayingmantis #mantodea #mantis #nature #wildlife #animals #insects #bugs #science #cool #entomology #exotic #pets #aliens #photography #mantismonarch #postivevibes
https://www.instagram.com/p/ByvRWcThwrG/?igshid=jsoelvoc47pm

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

“Hello There” Sphodromantis gastri…

“Hello There” Sphodromantis gastrica (African mantis) sub-adult male. The girls have been waiting on him to molt for so long. #sphrodromatisgastrica #sphrodromantis #africanmantis #prayingmantis #mantodea #mantis #nature #wildlife #animals #insect #bugs #science #entomology #exotic #pets #aliens #photography #mantismonarch #starwars #ewanmcgregor
https://www.instagram.com/p/Byi_CDphWY1/?igshid=16e7rvp50otux

nanonaturalist: nanonaturalist: caterpillar-…

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

caterpillar-gifs:

Mystery slug caterpillar! Who is this?! Stay tuned! Updates will be incoming in my @nanonaturalist blog

Microscope shots magnified 20x
May 20, 2019

I investigated and our baby is:

a Yellow-shouldered Slug Moth (yet another stinging slug caterpillar!)

This dramatic fellow was hanging out in the yard for a while last month:

Here is a blurry shot next to my finger to show you how utterly massive these moths get:

truly spectacular

May 20, 2019

The child grows (I think?)

Resident slug moth expert (over in California) is not sure of my ID, but says whatever I have, hackberry is an undocumented host. Pressure is on to successfully get an adult moth! (Rearing these caterpillars is difficult! They are so small and dry out very easily).

May 26, 2019

The slug, hidden

On June 2nd, the baby had become JELLYPILLAR SLUGGARNAUT! A perfect button!

And then today, when I was cleaning the enclosure, I couldn’t find him. Where was the baby? I was taking the old leaves out, and noticed two twigs were stuck together. I pulled them apart and found:

A cocoon????? ALREADY?!? Here’s the crazy part: these caterpillars will make a cocoon, and then hibernate in it for ALMOST A YEAR BEFORE THEY PUPATE, according to the slug caterpillar expert who got his PhD studying these little friends. What tiny little moth is going to come out of this cocoon?! He didn’t get big enough!!!

But anyways, based on the morphology of the caterpillar and when it lost the spines, slug moth expert dude agrees with me that this is the Yellow-shouldered Slug Moth (I told him so :P)

June 7, 2019

“When I grow up I want to be just like y…

“When I grow up I want to be just like you” Phyllocrania paradoxa (ghost mantis) L1, sub-adult, & adult nymphs.
#phyllocraniaparadoxa #ghost #prayingmantis #mantodea #mantis #nature #wildlife #animals #insect #bugs #science #entomology #photography #exotic #pet #alien #mantismonarch #nymph
https://www.instagram.com/p/ByQdBIAB-8h/?igshid=y93vb24cc5vq

acornskulls: nanonaturalist: This fat girl i…

acornskulls:

nanonaturalist:

This fat girl is lovely. She is a Halysidota sp. Tiger moth. These moths are rare at my house, so I was happy to have a visit from her!

Their common names include the word “tussock moth” (examples are Sycamore Tussock Moth, and Banded Tussock Moth) even though they are not tussock moths, because their caterpillars have the little tufts of fur (they are mimics!):

Notice the above caterpillar is poofy with a couple little tufts at the end? Actual tussock moths (which can sting you!) look like this:

Above: Unidentified Tussock moth caterpillar from Malawi

Left: Definite Tussock Moth from Village Creek State Park, near Beaumont, TX
Right: Southern Tussock Moth from my yard near Austin, TX

These caterpillar are not as all-around poofy, and they also have four tufts on their back near their head (easier to see in the Malawian and Definite caterpillars. The Texan caterpillars are younger, so they don’t have their tufts out on display in full glory like the mature Malawian caterpillar does, but that’s the look our Halysidota baby is going for.

June 1, 2019

Totally not what I was expecting to see today, almost two months ago I saw a White-Marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar for the first time and had no idea what he was, I wanted to move him from where he was but I knew the spines on his could have been no bueno for me so I left him be. I don’t remember ever seeing the adult Tussock Moth around since they look so mundane, but I’m sure I have, nature is wack

Ah, yes, of course I need to post what the real adult Tussock Moths look like. For example, here is the adult version of the White-marked Tussock Moth (what the above baby turns into):

A handsome man!

Here is one of my Southern Tussock Moth girls all grown up!

And this is an Euproctis sp. Tussock Moth from Malawi. Some of these moths there were super fluffy

Notice how all the Tussock Moths are wearing furry boots? Scroll up a bit and check out our Tiger Moth lady’s legs. Clean shaven! Their body shapes are different as well, but granted, it’s hard to tell with her vibrating so much.

Here’s a different Halysidota sp. I had seen before (a little older and some of the scales have been worn off the wings). Wings are longer, not rounded, the legs don’t look like the moth is riding a furry spider, etc. Not a Tussock moth, despite what they want you to think while they’re caterpillars!

June 1, 2019