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Photo#43188
Miller Dagger 5th instar Larva - Acronicta vulpina

Miller Dagger 5th instar Larva - Acronicta vulpina
Town of Baileys Harbor, Hidden Corners Sanctuary, Door County, Wisconsin, USA
July 29, 2005
5th instar larva. Eggs laid June 20, 2005, hatched June 27, 2005. In its final instar, one moment it had white hairs. When I looked moments later it had shed its white hairs into long grayish brown hairs. A BIG surprise. Formed pupa August 4, 2005, overwintered in fruit cellar. Adult eclosed May 20, 2006.

Images of this individual: tag all
Miller Dagger - Acronicta vulpina - female Miller Dagger 4th instar Larva - Acronicta vulpina Miller Dagger 5th instar Larva - Acronicta vulpina

Any theories?
Also, did it actually lose the hairs or did they just change color?

 
Larval hairs
Janice J. Stiefel That's a good question, Jim. Perhaps I used the wrong word. I used "shed" in my data base notes, but actually I think the hairs just changed color from white to dark brown. I don't recall seeing any "shed" hairs. I had the same experience with this species in 2003. At that time, it was even more of a shock. I had found the tiny larva on Big Tooth Aspen (Populus grandidentata). I reared it, but the pupa never eclosed, so I didn't know what I had until this one was reared in 2005 from eggs laid by the female. In that case, I had the adult specimen from which to make an ID.

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