Saturday, October 27, 2012

'tis the season!

Keep a lookout for woolly bears and other caterpillars this time of year.  By now, many of them have found their winter hiding places, often in your woodpile or garage.  Some butterflies and moths overwinter as adults, such as members of the Nymphalidae butterfly family, including Mourning Cloaks (Nymphalis antiopa), Compton's Tortoiseshells (N. j-album), and Milbert's Tortoiseshells (Aglais milberti).  Other butterflies, such as Monarchs (Danaus plexippus) and Painted Ladies (Vanessa cardui), fly south for the winter because they cannot survive our cold winters.  Some California Tortoiseshell (N. californica) butterflies overwinter locally, while many have also been seen migrating southward along the Oregon Coast.
This is also the time of year when I pick out a few moth pupae and sometimes a few butterfly chrysalids from Bill Oehlke, manager/creator of the "World's Largest Saturniidae Website".  He offers livestock for sale that have been reared either by himself or other legitimate dealers.  I've dealt with him on and off for the past ten years and have always been pleased with the livestock.  So far I've obtained the following species from him:
Actias luna - Luna moth
Antheraea polyphemus - Polyphemus moth
Automeris io - Io moth
Callosamia angulifera - Tulip Tree moth
Callosamia promethea - Promethea moth
Citheronea relgalis - Regal moth (larva is known as the Hickory Horned Devil)
Hemileuca nevadensis - Nevada Buckmoth
Hyalaphora cecropia - Cecropia silkmoth
Hyalaphora euryalis - Ceanothus silkmoth
Hyalaphora columbia - Columbia silkmoth
Samia cynthia - Cynthia silkmoth
Papilio cresphontes - Giant Swallowtail
Papilio glaucus - (Eastern) Tiger Swallowtail
Papilio troilus - Spicebush Swallowtail

Yesterday I received my newest order: Pipevine Swallowtail Battus philenor and Rosy Maple Moth Dryocampa rubicunda.  I've never reared either of these species, so I'm excited to see what the freshly-emerged adults will look like, but I'll have to wait until next Spring!  The Ruby Maple Moth pupae are really fascinating, all the moth pupae I've reared in the past have been smooth, but these are covered in tiny spines, mostly on their heads and in rings around each body segment.  You can see some of the spines in the photo here.
Pipevine Swallowtail (2) and Ruby Maple Moth (7) pupae. Each of these is about 1 inch long.