Most tussock moths, such as this Hickory Tussock Moth (Lophocampa caryae), are densely covered with hair-like structures called setae that bear microscopic barbs. Many people are sensitive to these setae and get an itchy rash if they handle a Hickory Tussock Moth. Even touching the cocoon of a tussock moth can cause irritation, as the setae are woven into it. Many tussock moths display warning coloration with their black, white, red, orange or yellow setae. What looks like two Hickory Tussock Moth larvae in the photograph is actually one adult caterpillar (left) and its shed skin (right). You can find these larvae feeding on hickory, walnut, ash, oak and many other trees in the woods right now. After spending the winter pupating in a cocoon in the leaf litter, a small spotted, tan moth emerges.
September 3, 2012 | Categories: Adaptations, Arthropods, Caterpillars, Cocoons, Defense Mechanisms, Insects, Invertebrates, Larvae, Lepidoptera, Metamorphosis, Molts, September | Tags: Arctiidae, Caterpillars, Defense Mechanisms, Hickory Halisidota, Hickory Tussock Moths, Larvae, Lophocampa caryae, Metamorphosis, Setae, Tussock Moths | 1 Comment
July 6, 2012 | Categories: Adaptations, Arthropods, Bees, Egg laying, Hymenoptera, Insect Eggs, Insect Signs, Insects, June | Tags: Bee Larvae, Egg Cells, Insect Eggs, insects, Larvae, Leafcutter Bees, Megachile, Metamorphosis, Pollen | 2 Comments
NOTICE: I will be away for the next week in northern Maine, trying to photograph the largest member of the deer family. Blogs will resume on Monday, June 11.
June 4, 2012 | Categories: Arthropods, Caterpillars, Insects, Invertebrates, June, Larvae, Lepidoptera, Metamorphosis, Moths | Tags: Caterpillars, Cecropia Moth, Giant Silk Moths, Hyalophora cecropia, Larvae, Lepidoptera, Metamorphosis, moths, Saturniidae | 4 Comments
May 3, 2012 | Categories: Amphibians, Crustaceans, Larvae, May, Metamorphosis, Predator-Prey, Salamanders, Vernal Pools | Tags: Ambystoma maculatum, Aquatic Larvae, Crustaceans, Larvae, Metamorphosis, Salamanders, Spotted Salamanders, Temporary Woodland Pools, Vernal Pools | 1 Comment
The striped caterpillar that is crawling along the surface of fresh snow is the larval stage of a noctuid or owlet moth (species unknown). Noctuids are dull-colored, medium-sized, nocturnal moths that are attracted to lights in the summer. They usually possess a well-developed proboscis (mouthpart) for sucking nectar. You may be familiar with the common garden pests, cutworms, which are also noctuid larvae. How this larva survives freezing temperatures I do not know, but I have seen several dozen at a time crawling around on top of the snow. Note: Jean Harrison, a fellow nature lover, just identified this larva as Noctua pronuba, a winter cutworm also known as the greater yellow underwing (moth), a recent immigrant from Europe.
12-28-10 Blackberry Knot Gall
December 29, 2011 | Categories: Animal Architecture, Arthropods, December, Flowering Plants, Hymenoptera, Insect Signs, Insects, Larvae, Metamorphosis, Plants | Tags: Blackberry, Blackberry Knot Gall, Diastrophus nebulosus, Gall wasps, Galls, Larvae, Rubus, Wasps | Leave a comment