Lophocampa maculata - Development Sequence and observations - Lophocampa maculata
Elkton, Douglas County, Oregon, USA
August 11, 2011
08-07-11: Not much change from yesterday, still eating, still frassing. I have noticed, however, that their activity seems to run in spurts. They seem to do most of their eating at night - I check each night before bed, and it's usually not much different than how I left it in the morning, but when I check the following morning, they seem to have eaten a fair to hefty amount. I also noticed they seem to eat hearty for a day or two then slow down for a bit before eating hearty, again. Size-wise, their length doesn't seem changed (still 10 to 13mm), but they do seem a bit fatter . . . or maybe it's just fluffier - lot of parts to grow on a cat; maybe the parts take turns?
08-08-11: Again the cats have scattered, and again one has molted. The molted cat is definitely more fluffy. I expect the others will also molt in the next day or so. It's probably too early to say this, but it almost seems like there are two body patterns emerging. Four cats have a more evenly distributed red/orange around the mid-section, and four cats have the yellow mid-section with obvious red/orange spots. I used to think the four yellow ones were just lagging behind developmentally, but now, I'm thinking that assumption is wrong. Perhaps, it might have something to do with sex? or being born a redhead instead of a brunette? Of course, final molt they might all look the same. Guess I'll just have to wait and see.
I didn't want to disturb them, just in case they're all ready for molting, so I didn't try to measure anyone today.
08-09-11: Cats still scattered. Those that haven't molted seem to be in the process (to me, that's sitting there, doing nothing) - interesting that some shed their skins while others only seem to shed hairs.
My comments yesterday about color differences are now moot, and I'm back to thinking some cats are just slower taking on changes than others - of course this could still have something to do with sex (like human females mature faster physically than human males, the same way, in reverse, males hit their prime before females). Regardless, there are now 5 cats with red/orange abdomens, and three cats with red/orange spots on yellow mid-sections. Maybe tomorrow they'll all look the same?
I measured several cats that appeared molted. They're all still between 10 and 13mm. And, like last molt, they look a bit chubbier/fluffier, so I suspect once they start eating again, they'll put on a little more length, too.
08-10-11: Three cats still scattered, hugging the walls; I assume awaiting their molt. The rest are back on their food. Other than a bit of nibbling, they're not doing much - like the last time right after they molted. I suspect they'll start eating again in the next day or so. I'm hoping they start putting on some decent poundage soon, because right now, there's no where near enough stuff inside them to make a maculata moth.
08-11-11: All cats have completed their molts. I was wondering if the remaining three, mostly yellow ones would change coloring to the red/orange mid-sections. Turns out they are, to varying degrees, still mostly yellow, one with hardly any additional red/orange.
Except for two late molting cats, they're all back on their food, and from the frass output and look of the leaves, eating heartily. The two largest cats measure 15mm. The smallest, the cat that's still mostly yellow, measures 10mm.
Images of this individual: tag all