Rearing notes for western tiger swallowtail (Papilio rutulus) fourth instar larvae. Stock originated as eggs laid by a captive female, originally found as an egg in Albany, California and hand-paired to a male captured also in Albany, California, on July 7.
Rearing notes 7/26/17-7/31/17:
Rearing notes for our luna moth (Actias luna) fifth instar larvae. The stock originated as eggs from Alabama, April 2017.
Rearing Notes 7/22/17-7/31/17:
Today we took some pictures of our adult Mexican bush katydids (Scudderia mexicana). Originated from eggs laid by captive reared wild females of Summer 2016.
It has been extremely hectic with everything else we've been rearing this summer, so it was difficult to keep up with our Mexican bush katydids (Scudderia mexicana), both in terms of this site and in real life. Because we haven't been giving them the best treatment, they seem to be on the smaller side. Most of their life, they have been eating plum (Prunus) cuttings and hibiscus flowers (Hibiscus) among other random things that were only changed out once every week or so. Although it was pretty horrible, orthopterans generally tend to not mind dry stuff so they were still able to grow and develop normally.
But now that they are adults, we decided to give them a run today. Below is a male. It has a broken foot that looks that have been eaten by another katydid (cannibalism is a common problem when rearing them together), but is otherwise in excellent shape.
And here is a female, in perfect condition.
It could have been possible to try to breed these again, but the male flew away in the process of taking photos. This may be the last time we ever have anything to do with this species again because we are leaving. The first time we ever saw them was nine years ago when we were still little kids! It has been a very long run rearing them almost every year since.
Rearing notes for cynthia silkmoth (Samia cynthia advena) third instar larvae. Stock originated as pupae from Pennsylvania.
Rearing notes 7/26/17-7/29/17:
Rearing notes for anise swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon) fifth instar larvae obtained as eggs or larvae in Albany, El Cerrito, and Berkeley California.
Rearing notes 7/12/17-7/29/17:
Today we took some pictures of our sixth instar Mediterranean katydids (Phaneroptera nana). Originated from eggs laid by captive reared wild-caught females of Summer 2016.
Just like with the Mexican bush katydids (Scudderia mexicana), we haven't been keeping up with these very well this year. We have been rearing the two species side by side so when we took the mexicana out to photograph, we also took these out. They are currently in sixth instar and very close to molting to adult. This mexicana have already been adults for several days but these hatched later (which is consistent with when and what age we usually find them in the wild).
Although we have so few of them this year, we still managed to pull our luck with a brown morph. It looks like it's going to be mostly brown as an adult too. The only problem is that it has a broken hindleg. . . A green morph is also shown below.
The fiery skippers (Hyephila phyleus) around here are becoming extremely common as the season progresses.
It's about time we made a post about these - their the second most dominant skipper species here in Albany, California behind the umber skipper (Poanes melane). We can't really go a day here in the summer without seeing a bunch, especially with all the flowers in our front yard. Their not really picky feeders, nectaring from many small flowers. Unlike umbers, which are pretty common anytime starting from April to October, fieries tend to be less common at first but get more common as the season progresses and become very abundant at this time of year. In fact, they might even be more common then umbers by now.
We've never really tried getting eggs out of them (though if their like umbers, they'll just lay anywhere without a cage set-up or host plant) or have found any in the wild, so we don't know anything about the larvae. They should just take a variety of grasses like Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), but we've only ever found umbers on them. We haven't really looked too hard for them though, since their not the most interesting butterfly (just your everyday backyard skipper), but then again, maybe we've been taking them for granted as we won't be seeing any fieries or umbers once we move to Ithaca, New York.
Today we saw a gulf fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) lay an egg on our passionflower (Passiflora).
Well, just as we were taking the last set of photos for our last run of gulfs (Agraulis vanillae) that had pupated on our potted passionflower (Passiflora), an adult female decided to swoop in and lay. It didn't stay for long though, so only one egg was laid on the potted passionflower. It was laid on one of the vine shoots.
While we don't have a whole lot of time left here to raise any new hatchlings, this shouldn't be a problem with the potted plant. In fact, it's a great opportunity to catch up on the early stages that we missed last time and have a complete life history set before we leave and (probably) never see these again.
Rearing notes for black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes asterius) fifth instar larvae obtained from a hand-pairing between butterflies that eclosed from pupae originating from Cleveland, Ohio.
Rearing notes 7/24/17-7/28/17:
Here we compare the fifth instar larvae of the black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes asterius), anise swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon) and a ♀ Papilio polyxenes asterius × ♂ Papilio zelicaon hybrid cross.
This will probably the last post with all three types of larvae together, seeing as they are almost done growing and it's getting a bit redundant.
As the larvae grew larger, the differences started to become a little less obvious, especially between the hybrid and Papilio zelicaon. The hybrid does still has slightly smaller and rounder color spots, though. The pure P. polyxenes asterius still maintains a very distinctive look with the very small and circular color spots, even though they do actually break the black bands a bit now. In terms of shape, the hybrid larvae is noticeably shorter and thicker, as if it inherited the bulky body of P. zelicaon and the fat thorax of P. polyxenes asterius. The hybrid larvae are also moderately variable in color form (strip thickness, color of the spots, shade of green, etc.) , unlike the P. polyxenes which pretty much all look identical.
Both the P. zelicaon and the hybrid larvae are fond of flowers (seemingly prefer them over the leaves) and are comfortable sitting in the open sun. The P. polyxenes asterius only occasionally nibble at the flowers and appear to be indifferent towards them. The P. polyxenes asterius is also the only one that consistently regurgitates when violently handled. Interestingly, the hybrids seem to use their horns more frequently than either species.
This timeline is a series of daily posts recording our observations on and experiences with various insects in Albany California and surrounding areas, from 2012-2017. Since we did not publish this site until 2016, posts before that were constructed retroactively. Starting in August 2017, we moved to Ithaca, New York; posts from there on can be viewed at Timeline 2017-present: Ithaca, New York.
August 2017 (49)
July 2017 (121)
June 2017 (79)
May 2017 (77)
April 2017 (91)
March 2017 (35)
February 2017 (12)
January 2017 (10)
December 2016 (12)
November 2016 (26)
October 2016 (49)
September 2016 (84)
August 2016 (94)
July 2016 (99)
June 2016 (53)
May 2016 (21)
April 2016 (4)
January 2016 (1)
August 2015 (3)
July 2015 (3)
June 2015 (2)
June 2014 (3)
May 2014 (1)
April 2014 (3)
March 2014 (3)
December 2013 (2)
November 2013 (2)
October 2013 (5)
September 2013 (11)
August 2013 (15)
July 2013 (9)
June 2013 (5)
May 2013 (4)
April 2013 (3)
March 2013 (2)
February 2013 (3)
January 2013 (2)
December 2012 (2)
November 2012 (1)
October 2012 (2)
September 2012 (2)
August 2012 (5)
July 2012 (1)
June 2012 (1)
Full Species List
(Alphabetical by scientific name)
- Not every species we encounter is necessarily presented on this site, rather a selection of those that were of particular interest to us and that we felt were worth documenting.
- We can't guarantee that all species have been identified accurately, particularly taxa we are not as familiar with.
Battus philenor hirsuta
Coenonympha tullia california
Langia zenzeroides formosana
Orthosia hibisci quenquefasciata
Papilio machaon oregonius
Papilio polyxenes asterius
Samia cynthia advena
Papilio glaucus × Papilio rutulus
Papilio polyxenes asterius × Papilio zelicaon
Araneae (Class: Arachnida)