Sunday, 15 October 2017

Dirphia avialtoparanensis

Dirphia avialtoparenensis is one of the many species out of the South American Dirphia avia group and is in many aspects similar to the better known avia. The caterpillars are darker though. Otherwise they are pretty much the same. The rearing and the food plant preference is also the same as for avia. I used Carpinus betulus, but I could have used Prunus, Malus, Crataegus, Quercus, Fagus or Salix. It's a fairly large species with caterpillars growing up to nine centimeter. Keep them warm in well ventilated plastic containers. The larvae are not the fastest growers. It takes seven to eight weeks before they pupate. When they are ready they change color and start to wander around. At this point you can move them to small, individual plastic containers lined with toilet paper. In captivity they brood more or less continuously when kept warm, but it still might take a while before they emerge. It strongly depends on your rearing conditions.


Dirphia avialtoparanensis caterpillar
Dirphia avialtoparanensis final instar on Carpinus betulus

Dirphia avialtoparanensis caterpillar
Dirphia avialtoparanensis final instar on Carpinus betulus

Dirphia avialtoparanensis caterpillar
Dirphia avialtoparanensis final instar on Carpinus betulus

Dirphia avialtoparanensis caterpillar
Dirphia avialtoparanensis final instar on Carpinus betulus

Dirphia avialtoparanensis caterpillar
Dirphia avialtoparanensis final instar on Carpinus betulus

Dirphia avialtoparanensis caterpillar
Dirphia avialtoparanensis L6 on Carpinus betulus

Dirphia avialtoparanensis caterpillar
Dirphia avialtoparanensis L5 on Carpinus betulus

Dirphia avialtoparanensis caterpillar
Dirphia avialtoparanensis L4 on Carpinus betulus

Dirphia avialtoparanensis caterpillar
Dirphia avialtoparanensis L3 on Carpinus betulus

Dirphia avialtoparanensis caterpillar
Dirphia avialtoparanensis L2 on Carpinus betulus

Dirphia avialtoparanensis caterpillar
Dirphia avialtoparanensis L1 on Carpinus betulus

Friday, 13 October 2017

Silkmoth of the week: Molippa flavodiosiana

There's still very little known about this South American species. So far they have only been reported from Peru, but that does not necessarily mean they are restricted to this country. Flavodiosiana is nearly identical to Molippa simillima which also occur in South America. Some of the reported simillima might be flavodiosiana. There probably is a partial overlap in the distribution of both species, which does increase the chances of mistakes in identification. Both are also quite similar to Molippa nibasa, a species that occurs further north. However they are a little darker and larger then nibasa. The wingspan is around seven and a half to eight centimeter for the males and eight to nine centimeter for the females. In captivity this species broods continuously when kept warm.


 Molippa flavodiosiana female
Molippa flavodiosiana female - Origin: Peru

Molippa flavodiosiana male
Molippa flavodiosiana male - Origin: Peru

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Automeris occidentalis

For what it's worth ... This is one of the Brechlin species. Lemaire considered occidentalis to be an Automeris iris subspecies. He's probably right. There's no difference between iris and occidentalis caterpillars or at least no difference that I can see. If you think you've found something, please let me know. The animals you see in the pictures originate from Mazatlan in Sinaloa (Mexico). I'm aware that this is outside the reported range for occidentalis. But who knows where the range of one of these species ends and that of the other begins? There's a lot of confusion about the members of the iris complex. I haven't seen the moths yet, so I have to trust Bernhard Wenczel on this. Anyway, the rearing of this species is fairly easy (as for iris). The larvae thrive on Robinia pseudoacacia (so does iris). Alternatively, you could use Quercus robur (yep, same for iris). Keep them dry and clean in well ventilated plastic containers. Don't keep too warm, an average living room temperature is enough. After five to six weeks the caterpillars are fully grown and start to spin their cocoons. The pupae will now overwinter in a cool room (in between ten and fifteen degrees Celsius). The moths will emerge next Spring.


Automeris occidentalis caterpillar
Automeris occidentalis L7 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Automeris occidentalis caterpillar
Automeris occidentalis L7 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Automeris occidentalis caterpillar
Automeris occidentalis L7 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Automeris occidentalis caterpillar
Automeris occidentalis L7 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Automeris occidentalis caterpillar
Automeris occidentalis L7 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Automeris occidentalis caterpillar
Automeris occidentalis L7 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Automeris occidentalis caterpillar
Automeris occidentalis L6 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Automeris occidentalis caterpillar
Automeris occidentalis L5 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Automeris occidentalis caterpillar
Automeris occidentalis L4 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Automeris occidentalis caterpillar
Automeris occidentalis L3 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Automeris occidentalis caterpillar
Automeris occidentalis L2 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Automeris occidentalis caterpillar
Automeris occidentalis L1 on Robinia occidentalis

Friday, 6 October 2017

The Lappet Show: Kunugia undans

Kunugia undans is a fairly large, Asian Lappet species that occurs in China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Bhutan, Korea, Russia and Japan. The wingspan goes from six to ten centimeter. The females are significantly larger and heavier build then the males. This species is not always as colorful as in the pictures below. Undans is very variable and goes from dull brown to bright orange. Several subspecies have been described. The moths are on the wing early autumn, between September and October. 


Kunugia undans male
Kunugia undans male - Origin: Russia

Kunugia undans female
Kunugia undans female - Origin: Russia

Kunugia undans female
Kunugia undans female - Origin: Russia

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Palirisa cervina formosana

Never again! If the larvae weren't so pretty, I probably would have killed them months ago. That's right: months ago. The growth of this Asian Monkey Moth species (Eupterotidae) is extremely slow. The eggs hatched early May. They go through the first four instars quite fast (just a couple of weeks), but then they slow down. Once they've reached the fifth instar the appearance changes little, they just get bigger. I'm not sure how many instars there are. That's the problem with species growing this slow, you loose count. The caterpillars don't make it any easier. Almost all of them grow at a different pace. The first started spinning a cocoon at the end of August, while the slowest will need at least one more month, maybe even two. That's not a problem. Although I have a group on Prunus avium and one on Alnus glutinosa and the leaves of both plants will start to drop in a couple of weeks, they easily switch to Rubus fruticosus (my third group) which is almost entirely evergreen. This is an easy species to grow. Keep them in well ventilated plastic containers and make sure everything stays dry and clean. Do not overcrowd. An average room temperature and ambient humidity is fine. Because this is a somewhat less well known species, I've included a picture of the cocoon they make. Be careful while handling those. The hairs of the caterpillars are woven into the fabric on the outside and will stick into your skin when touching. These cocoons will now overwinter in an unheated but frost free room.


Palirisa cervina formosana caterpillar
Palirisa cervina formosana final instar on Prunus avium

Palirisa cervina formosana caterpillar
Palirisa cervina formosana final instar on Rubus fruticosus

Palirisa cervina formosana caterpillar
Palirisa cervina formosana final instar on Prunus avium

Palirisa cervina formosana caterpillar
Palirisa cervina formosana final instar on Prunus avium

Palirisa cervina formosana caterpillar
Palirisa cervina formosana final instar on Prunus avium

Palirisa cervina formosana caterpillar
Palirisa cervina formosana early stage on Alnus glutinosa

Palirisa cervina formosana caterpillar
Palirisa cervina formosana early stage on Prunus avium

Palirisa cervina formosana caterpillar
Palirisa cervina formosana early stage on Rosa

Palirisa cervina formosana caterpillar
Palirisa cervina formosana early stage on Prunus avium

Palirisa cervina formosana caterpillar
Palirisa cervina formosana early stage on Prunus avium

Palirisa cervina formosana caterpillar
Palirisa cervina formosana L4 on Prunus avium

Palirisa cervina formosana caterpillar
Palirisa cervina formosana L4 on Rosa

Palirisa cervina formosana caterpillar
Palirisa cervina formosana L3 on Alnus glutinosa

Palirisa cervina formosana caterpillar
Palirisa cervina formosana L2 on Prunus avium

Palirisa cervina formosana caterpillar
Palirisa cervina formosana L1 on Rosa

Palirisa cervina formosana cocoon
Palirisa cervina formosana cocoon

Friday, 29 September 2017

The Lappet Show: Tolype velleda

The Large Tolype (Tolype velleda) is a very attractive North American Lappet species, which is still fairly common from Nova Scotia in Canada, throughout the eastern United States, south to central Florida and west to Minnesota, Nebraska and Texas. Despite the English name, it's not a large species. The wingspan is between 3,2 centimeter and 5,8 centimeter. The males are significantly smaller then the females. They have only one flight per year, mainly somewhere between September and October, depending on local conditions. The eggs overwinter (in the fridge). 


Tolype velleda female
Tolype velleda female - Origin: Canada

Tolype velleda male
Tolype velleda male - Origin: Canada

Tolype velleda female
Tolype velleda female - Origin: Canada

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Trabala pallida

Always fun to rear a Trabala. The members of this Asian (and African) genus have all colorful caterpillars. Most of the species are easy to breed and even suitable for newcomers. They are very forgiving for mistakes, just don't exaggerate.  You will still have to clean cages and give fresh food. Even though these larvae like to drink from water drops, it's my advice to keep everything dry. Avoid condensation and wet leaves, it lowers the risk of diseases significantly. As is the case for many Lasiocampidae, when they get sick and die, it's usually in the later instars, after you've already spend a significant amount of time and work. So that's something you would like to avoid. This is not a fast grower. Depending on your breeding conditions, it can easily take up to eight weeks before they start to pupate. The pupal stage is fairly short (two to three weeks). They are best reared in well ventilated plastic containers. Do not overcrowd in the last two caterpillar stages. Wild hosts are among others Terminalia, Melastoma, Lagerstroemia, Punica, Psidium and Sclerocarya. In captivity they willingly accept Quercus and Carpinus. 


Trabala pallida caterpillar
Trabala pallida final instar on Carpinus betulus

Trabala pallida caterpillar
Trabala pallida final instar on Carpinus betulus

Trabala pallida caterpillar
Trabala pallida final instar on Carpinus betulus

Trabala pallida caterpillar
Trabala pallida final instar on Carpinus betulus

Trabala pallida caterpillar
Trabala pallida final instar on Carpinus betulus

Trabala pallida caterpillar
Trabala pallida final instar on Carpinus betulus

Trabala pallida caterpillar
Trabala pallida final instar on Carpinus betulus

Trabala pallida caterpillar
Trabala pallida final instar on Carpinus betulus

Trabala pallida caterpillar
Trabala pallida final instar on Carpinus betulus

Trabala pallida caterpillar
Trabala pallida final instar on Carpinus betulus

Trabala pallida caterpillar
Trabala pallida L6 on Carpinus betulus

Trabala pallida caterpillar
Trabala pallida L5 on Carpinus betulus

Trabala pallida caterpillar
Trabala pallida L4 on Carpinus betulus

Trabala pallida caterpillar
Trabala pallida L3/L4 on Carpinus betulus

Trabala pallida caterpillar
Trabala pallida L1/L2 on Carpinus betulus