The American Lady larva is very distinctive with its branched spines and white bands across its abdomen. One of its favorite foods is Pussytoes, a member of the Aster family. The larva feeds inside a shelter it makes by tying up several leaves with silk. In the photograph, the larva has incorporated the flower heads of Pussytoes into its shelter. Not only is the larva feeding and growing inside this 1 ½ ”-long cavity, it also shed its skin. To see an adult American Lady butterfly, go to https://naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/american-lady-common-milkweed-pollinia/ . Soon after the larva forms a chrysalis and pupates, a butterfly emerges and starts its migration south for the winter.
August 17, 2012 | Categories: Arthropods, August, Butterflies, Caterpillars, Insect Signs, Insects, Invertebrates, Larvae, Lepidoptera, Metamorphosis, Molts | Tags: American Lady, American Lady Butterfly, Antennaria, Asteraceae, Asters, Insect Diets, insects, Invertebrates, Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae, Pussytoes, Vanessa virginiensis | 1 Comment
It appears that this may be a good year for monarchs in the Northeast, as with very little looking, you can find their eggs as well as young monarch caterpillars. Look on the underside of the top leaf or two on young milkweed plants – these leaves are tender and monarchs often lay their tiny, ribbed eggs there (usually one per plant) as they (leaves) are ideal food for young larvae. The first meal a monarch larva eats is its egg shell. It then moves on to nearby milkweed leaf hairs, and then the leaf itself. Often the first holes it chews are U-shaped, which are thought to help prevent sticky sap (which can glue a monarch caterpillar’s mandibles shut) from pouring into the section of leaf being eaten.
July 20, 2012 | Categories: Adaptations, Arthropods, Caterpillars, Insect Eggs, Insect Signs, Insects, Invertebrates, July, Larvae, Lepidoptera, Metamorphosis | Tags: Asclepias syriaca, Common Milkweed, Danaus plexippus, Insect Diets, Insect Eggs, insects, Lepidoptera, Metamorphosis, Monarch Butterfly | 4 Comments