Lophocampa maculata - Development Sequence and observations - Lophocampa maculata
Elkton, Douglas County, Oregon, USA
September 13, 2011
09-09-11: Still waiting for the cat on the wall to molt. The other six cats were nicely arranged in a fairly compact group on big-leaf maple.
It appears they will all be the red/orange/rust color. When the one on the wall molts, I'd venture to say it will have the same color as the others - it's still somewhat yellow/orange. The main variations now seem to be: do they have a row of spots or not, how many orange body segments and is the skin black under the orange segments? There sure have been a lot of changes since they emerged from eggs - quite fun.
The largest cat measured 40mm, while nibbling maple. At least half of yesterday's maple was eaten. Only a snack was taken from the plum. Lots of frass and leaf bones. Almost every time I looked in on them yesterday, they were eating. Today, their appetites are again pretty good. Funny watching them eat, too - if one gets too close to another, it gets smacked by the other's tail. It's also interesting watching them hurl frass - I thought they just left it behind, but now see they wiggle their butts around, and fling it. Talented little fellows.
09-10-11: The cat on the wall molted. Missed it, again. Everyone else was scattered around the container, all sitting on big-leaf maple.
Lots of eating and frassing going on, more so than usual. I've been giving them extra portions lately. They seem grateful - more than 2/3 of what I gave them yesterday was gone this morning. Only maple was eaten. Plum wasn't touched.
Measured 5 cats at 35 to 38mm. One cat was 41mm. The freshly molted cat, still scrunched up on the wall, measured 30mm. I suspect once it starts eating again, it will quickly catch up to the others.
As I suspected yesterday, it appears the colors of the freshly molted cat are now more in line with the others.
Considering how large these cats are getting, I'm assuming they're in their 5th instar, perhaps one or two of the smaller ones in their 4th. I'm wondering what to anticipate when they pupate.
09-11-11: The cats were pretty much scattered throughout their container. All were sitting on big-leaf maple.
Again, there was much eating, etc. By 7:00 PM yesterday, they'd finished about half the day's maple ration. I gave them a second ration, and by this morning, they'd consumed about 2/3 of that. A good meal for one was also taken from the plum.
No one bothered to stir when I cleaned their container.
09-12-11: Not much to report today. Eating and frassing are still in high gear. Big-leaf maple is still hands-down the favorite, though some plum was also eaten. Today I started feeding them double portions, rather than feed them twice or have them run out of food. All cats look fat/fluffy and healthy; the largest measured 40+mm, smallest 32mm, the rest between 35 and 38mm.
09-13-11: The cats had another feast. With how much they've been eating lately, you'd think they were trying to put on weight for a Mothra sequel. They only ate big-leaf maple and were scattered over and under what leaf sections were left.
Because of how they were situated on the leaves, it was difficult to get many measurements. I was, however, able to measure one of the larger cats. It came in at 42mm while munching. Another cat looked even larger, but it wouldn't hold still for a measurement. I did get one poor attempt at measuring it, and all stretched out it approached the 50mm mark; contracted, at momentary rest, it measured closer to 42/43mm. Amazing how they've grown! and can stretch!
Cleaning their container caused a flurry of activity. The largest wandering cat went straight for a misted leaf and started sipping. The other wanderers found new feeding stations and started eating. All except two appear to now be resting. The two exceptions are still eating - one is the 42mm cat.
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