Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Dance yourself dizzy...

In an effort to start this blog update in a slightly different way, I thought perhaps a dancing chrysalis might fit the bill? You might like to ensure that your sound is on for this...

Please remember that these videos are often too large to show in the e.mail version of the blog:


Not exactly quiescent is it. All I know about this is based on the larva that I found in the garden, which looks like this...

I kept the (unknown) larva until pupation and I guess I must have disturbed the chrysalis to instigate such a violent reaction.

Staying with the theme of moth larvae for a second; I recently discovered an early instar of an Elephant-hawk moth (Deilephila elpenor) which gave me a chance to observe how they grow (fast is the answer!) and hadn't realised that they start out green. I thought I had found a green version, which you don't see too often...

Luckily though, I found one of those too...

This is what the brown one looks like now, still a lot of growing to do...

Yes, time for some news about the puss moth parasites featured in my last update. I wasn't at all hopeful about my chances of encouraging the parasite larvae to pupate: I had read that it is tricky to provide the right conditions, as it's assumed that they do so inside of the puss moth cocoons. The best idea I could come up with was to sandwich them between 2 pieces of bark and then put them in the dark. 

I left them for a few days, and when I checked, to my amazement, they were still moving and had begun to change in appearance...

Sure enough, a few days later when I re-checked them, they had begun to pupate. I now have 3 cocoons. I am expecting that they will now remain this way until next year and then...hopefully, I will get to see the wasps emerge, if I am real lucky.

Baby news now: Nadya Suleman, better known as "Octomom," became world famous when she gave birth to eight babies in January 2009 but could you imagine trying to look after this lot? I'm not sure of exact numbers, but it's in excess of 20 that this mother has to care for.

This is 'Elasmucha grisea' the Parent Bug. Or as I have seen them described, the Motherly Bug. A description that seems more apt in a way, because dad has naff-all to do with caring for his offspring, in fact he dies soon after mating, which seems a bit harsh; whilst mum sits tight, on-guard, from egg laying until the nymphs venture out to feed.

Here's an unrelated 2nd instar nymph that I found at a different location. This one seems to have damaged an eye: I wonder if that will resolve at the next moult?

This update seems to have turned out to be devoted to the first stages of life, with eggs, tiny nymphs and chrysalis' a'plenty, so let's end with another discovery of ova. Whilst looking for butterfly eggs in the garden, I spotted this amazingly small egg on the Nepta plant. It really was too small to accurately measure but I guess was around 0.5mm.

I think it may be a bug egg of some kind? (sits back and waits for somebody with superior knowledge to confirm/deny) But if it is; which species? I know there are at least a couple of Rhopalid bug species present. There are several bugs that I can rule out, but that's about as far as I have got, and although I have kept this in a little pot (container that is, not hashish!) I still wonder if I will be able to find it again being so small (the egg, not me).

A pretty, pretty picture to end on. One of the few Painted Ladies I have seen locally this year. Well, I did see an overweight girly, covered in tattoos with a phone stuck to her ear one evening. 


  1. Well, he certainly can-can dance! Sorry....
    Brilliant footage! :-)

    Congrats on the successful pupation of the puss moth wasp larvae! Look forward to seeing what emerges eventually.

    Gorgeous series of shots of the Motherly bug and eggs / nymphs. They are amazing, and their brood size seems to vary quite considerably too.

    Fascinating egg! Not sure what it is. Could be Hemiptera, but not seen one like it. The only Rhopalidae eggs I've seen (and seen photos of) are a different shape and not seen any Coreidae eggs like it either... it almost has a hammered finish to it! It will certainly be interesting to see what hatches out of it! :-)

  2. What happened about this egg JJ? Did it hatch out? Intrigued to know what it was! :-)

    1. Hi Maria,

      I seem to have missed seeing your original comment here for some reason! Anyhow, thanks for it. I have to confess that the egg was soooo small that I could not re-locate it. I tried, oh how I tried, but to no avail and so I'm sorry to report that I am none the wiser. If I see any more, or maybe next year now, I'll might try keeping one to observe.



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