Lophocampa maculata - Development Sequence and observations - Lophocampa maculata
Elkton, Douglas County, Oregon, USA
August 1, 2011
7-28-11: 5 cats now have orange dorsal spots/mottling. One cat has blackening fore and aft. One has the beginnings of darkening behind the head and toward the tip of the abdomen. One is lagging behind with only darkened spots on segment 3 and posterior segments.
7-29-11: 6 cats now have noticeable orange dorsal mottling; there also appear to be orange/yellow hairs starting to grow around the middle of their abdomens. 1 cat shows the beginning traces of orange mottling; the other I'm not sure.
Measured one cat at 8mm, smallest cat is about 7mm.
I usually change their food and clean their container every two days, and usually the cats stay on their food. On occasion, however, I've noticed one or two wandering around. If I put in a fresh plum leaf, within a very short time the wandering cats will have found the leaf, and they stop wandering. Happens every time. It would seem wandering cats could be a sign their food needs replenishing, or at least refreshing. To ensure they have proper fresh nutrition, I'll add a new leaf or two each day, and discard the old leaf once they've migrated.
07-30-11: No noticeable change in coloration. Only one cat (the smallest) lags behind in acquiring noticeable orange mottling. Biggest cat is now 10mm. Smallest cat is 8mm. (They stretch like a little Slinky, so accurate measurements are somewhat inaccurate.)
The cats' method of eating has changed. Instead of skeletonizing leaves, they're now actually eating them, with an even more prodigious output of frass.
07-31-11: All cats look pretty much the same as yesterday. Everyone seems to be happily munching along.
08-01-11: All cats still look pretty much the same as yesterday. Their rate of eating seems a little slowed, as is their frass output. Nevertheless, they seem to be doing fine.
Followup 8:58 PM: Another surprise! The cats seem to have scattered into various parts of the container. I noticed one has just molted. Maybe the molt is what slowed their eating? and scattered them?
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