Lepidoptera, butterflies and moths, and their larvae, will continue to be active into October and beyond. Here’s a few species I saw last week.
I came across two species that I either hadn’t seen before or hadn’t previously witnessed perform a particular behavior. I’ve seen many datanas here in the outdoor areas of the Museum, but I don’t recall seeing an Angus’ datana (Datana angusii) before. If you don’t already know, datanas are caterpillars of small brown moths. I typically see either yellow-necked datana or contracted datana here at the Museum.
Both the yellow-necked and contracted datanas have either cream or yellow stripes running down their bodies and a patch of orange behind their leaf munching heads. Angus’ datana has white or cream stripes but lacks the orange markings. They have pink or reddish prolegs as well (prolegs are the temporary rear legs of caterpillars, they are not visible in the photo). Of the three mentioned, Angus’ is the datana that feeds on hickory and walnut trees. I found several of them crawling away from a walnut on the Dino Trail.
More fun, was watching a snowberry clearwing lay eggs on honeysuckle. I’ve seen both the caterpillar and adult of this diurnal, clear-winged moth, but hadn’t found an egg. Snowberries are listed as preferring plants in the honeysuckle family for their caterpillars. So naturally, they lay their eggs on honeysuckle.
The adult that I observed laid a single egg on each leaf that she visited. The one pictured is the only one within reach of my camera.
We’ve been experiencing rain for the past three or four days and it looks like it may continue. I wouldn’t expect to see many butterflies or moths in this type of weather. But, as soon as the sun returns, watch out!