Pupae Plus

I’ve been casually checking for Cloudless Sulphur pupae out in Catch the Wind for the past two years. I’d not found one until now!

On September 11 as I walked past the patch of Partridge Pea in Catch the Wind I noticed that a Cloudless Sulphur caterpillar had attached itself to a pea pod on one of the plants and had curled itself into a “J” on the underside of the pod.

cloudless larav
A Cloudless Sulphur caterpillar prepares to pupate. Note the thin silken thread that runs up to the pod from just behind the head (left side).

I couldn’t wait until the following morning. If the caterpillar didn’t fall prey to some wasp or other predator, or get trampled on, it would be a chrysalis in the morning.

And so it was, the next morning it was a chrysalis.

cloudless pupa
The following morning the first stop was the pea patch in Catch the Wind and sure enough, the larva had become a pupa, a chrysalis.

If you had clicked on the link above you saw the Cloudless Sulphur’s life cycle from egg to pupa. The adult butterfly is next. Hopefully I’ll catch it as it emerges (there’s no way to tell, nor am I claiming, that this caterpillar is the same one that hatched from the egg from the previous post).

Elsewhere, there are several bagworms (Psychidae) that are also pupating at this time. The one in the image below is on a willow in Explore the Wild.

bagworm
This Bagworm Moth is on a willow adjacent to the restroom/vending area in Explore the Wild.

Bagworms construct a “bag” from pieces of twigs leaves and other plant material from the tree that they happen to live on. They eat, sleep, lay eggs, pupate, and even mate while living in the bags. In the case of the females, their whole lives are spent in the bag! The adult males are free to fly around, but it’s usually just to find one of the “bagged” females to mate with. Interesting life.

I found the planthopper below on a blackberry bramble very close to where the bagworm was hanging. It looks to be a Citrus Flatid Planthopper (Matcalfa pruinosa).

planthopper
A Citrus Flatid Planthopper rests on the stem of a blackberry in Explore the Wild.

The name citrus refers to the fact that these hoppers are often found on citrus, but they can obviously be found on other plants as well.

Spiders, along with the other creatures in our midst, are preparing for the future.

lynx spider
This Green Lynx Spider clings to its silken egg sac which it will protect at all costs. This one is on butterfly bush.

Lynx spiders don’t build webs to capture food, but instead stalk or pounce on food as it happens by. They situate themselves in advantageous locations to wait for prey, such as next to flowers or other areas of heavy insect traffic.

I’ve read that these large spiders will actually die of starvation while protecting their egg sac, refusing to leave it to secure food. This doesn’t seem to be a very good strategy, but the spiders are common, so it must pay off for them in the end.

green lynx
A close view of the face of a Green Lynx Spider (same individual as above).

And finally, a bee.

cbee
A large Carpenter Bee nectars on Purple Coneflower (Butterfly House Garden).

2 responses to Pupae Plus

    • Greg Dodge, Ranger
      Greg Dodge, Ranger says:

      Hey traveling musician, Erin Brown! From your blog sounds like you’ve been having a good time of it! Balston Spa, Saratoga Springs…brings back fond memories.
      To the butterflies. There is not a Cloudful Sulphur, but there is indeed a Clouded Sulphur, a smaller butterfly than the cloudless with many more markings on its otherwise yellow wings.
      Play on!

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