Spruce False Looper larva - Syngrapha viridisigma
Town of Baileys Harbor, Hidden Corners Sanctuary, Door County, Wisconsin, USA
January 8, 2005
Larva of Syngrapha viridisigma, #8929, 112 days old. The following notes from my data base explain this long ordeal: Eggs hatched September 18, 2004, fed Large-Toothed Aspen (Populus grandidentata) because I had no idea as to the ID of this species. When Les Ferge got back to me with an ID on September 26, 2004, I switched to Balsam (Abies balsamifera) because that was listed as a host plant in "LE GUIDE DES PAPILLONS DU QUEBEC." The larvae seemed to prefer the Populus and I had to keep placing them on the Abies after I found them crawling around the bottom of the jar. At least the Populus kept them alive until I knew what their food plants were. On December 10, 2004, three larvae left. I think they must eat each other, because I could find no dead bodies in the rearing jar. Only one larva left on January 8, 2005, still eating Abies at 112 days old, which is when photo was taken on a very cold winter day. On January 14, 2005, I recorded: Larva must know when the Balsam has dried up or becomes useless to eat, because after four days, the caterpillar drops down to the bottom of the jar and just sits. When I bring in fresh Balsam, it crawls up on the plant and starts eating again. It has done this many times, so there has to be something going on. I keep the Balsam in water and it looks fresh, but evidently it changes in those four days and is no longer acceptable to the caterpillar. We had a terrible drought in 2004, leaving many leaves and needles very dry. On January 19, 2005 larva formed green pupa. It took 24 hrs. to turn brown. After all that, adult never eclosed. Needless to say, this was an interesting experience.
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