Lophocampa maculata - Development Sequence and observations - Lophocampa maculata
Elkton, Douglas County, Oregon, USA
September 29, 2011
09-29-11: As I mentioned in yesterday's status: at 8:30 AM, one-spot was in walkabout, but not a frisky one. Considering subsequent events, I should add that all other cats were fairly animated right to the end of their walkabouts. What was notably not frisky about one-spot was its gait, somewhat wobbly and faltering, almost like it was a bit tipsy or completely tuckered out. I was therefore glad when it quickly nestled in after I flipped the maple leaves. I was hoping the cat would begin cocooning fairly soon, and checked on it every half hour.
About two hours later (4:00 PM), one-spot restarted its walkabout, continuing the walkabout until just before 6:00 PM, when it returned to the same spot it had nestled into earlier. The walkabout was again sluggish. One-spot looked somewhat disoriented. I was somewhat surprised it returned to its recent starting point.
I checked back at 6:50 PM. My find is on the left side of the montage. I figured, great, I can get another pupation sequence. To get a decent photo, I had to lift and turn the leaf. Even though I very carefully returned the leaf to its original position, the cat lost its footing, and nearly fell off. It was no longer within the footprint of its cocoon, rather it was at about a 90 degree angle across the footprint. It sat there, unmoving, for about 10 minutes.
I looked in again at 7:36 PM. One -spot had restarted building its cocoon over the old footprint, off-angle by about 110 degrees. I took another photo, and carefully placed the leaf back in the container. I checked in again at 7:51 PM. Very little progress had been made, and one-spot was just sitting idly. Usually, when building a cocoon, the cats were very diligent; nothing distracted them; their building was non-stop. Again, I carefully replaced one-spot, and again, it lost its footing, though not as severely as last time. I decided I had better leave it alone, or it would never complete its task.
Just before bed, 11:45 PM, I thought I'd give one-spot a last look. Since I wasn't planning on another photo, I only peeked under the leaf. In the almost 4 hours since I looked last, it had managed to complete perhaps 10% of its cocoon - it should have been done. I started wondering if a cat can turn into a moth without a fully enclosing cocoon - perhaps I could control the environment so it could make it anyway. Those are the thoughts I dozed off with.
This morning, however, one-spot surprised me. It had managed to complete its cocoon. In the photo, there are two cocoon footprints under the cocoon it was finally able to make - once I left it alone. I don't know when one-spot finished its task, but I'm ecstatic it did.
One-spot now resides in its own pupation container - a ½ gallon clear, plastic, wide-mouthed jar, just like its siblings. One-spot will now be referred to as CC7.
Since all cats have now pupated, this is my last daily status for this batch. Additional reports will be submitted when there's something to say, otherwise in May 2012 when, hopefully, they emerge as moths. Each surviving moth will be in a montage along with its pupa and last image as a cat.
Images of this individual: tag all