Journal for July 1, 2010

Lots going on and lots of photos.  These are mostly moths and caterpillars.

My caterpillars are all growing, and I’m finding new ones all the time.

I have 4 kinds of Sphinx moth this year.

A Modest Sphinx moth came to my lights a few weeks ago; I kept her overnight and she laid eggs.  So now I have about a dozen caterpillars that are about 2 1/2 inches long and keeping me busy feeding them aspen leaves.  They like to hang upside down.

Ian gave me 3 other kinds of Sphinx caterpillars – all of them are eating Virginia Creeper.

Nessus Sphinx – they pupated a few days ago.  This was their final instar – much more colorful than the earlier ones.

Virginia Creeper Sphinx

Lettered Sphinx – these have also pupated

More interesting moths have come to my lights.

Bog Lygropia – although it’s not always found in bogs

Lappet Moth

A tiny one with distinctive coloring – Cream-bordered Dichomeris

An Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth – I saw lots of these – it’s a big year for them

A Tufted Bird-dropping Moth – a terrible name for a beautiful moth.

Snowy Urola Moth – this was actually taken at MJ’s in Iowa, but they came to my lights in Wisconsin too.

Large Lace-border Moth

Grape Leaffolder.  It has two species names, because it’s not possible to tell the difference between the two species from a photo.

The largest insect I’ve seen recently was an Elm Sphinx.  This female came to my lights.  I kept her overnight, but she didn’t lay any eggs.  I found out later that I should have kept her longer.  She was about 3 inches long – you can see that she was as long as my forefinger.

A Green Leuconycta – I love green moths

Several creatures came to the lights that weren’t moths:

A cool beetle – I don’t know what kind

A Green Lacewing

And some frogs – maybe they were attracted by all the insects

Gray Tree Frog

Wood Frog

I found a large group of caterpillars eating Black-eyed Susan leaves in one of the prairies.   I know they’re butterfly caterpillars, but I’m not sure which kind – I think they’re Silvery Checkerspots.  I’m raising them in an aquarium, and they’re just starting to pupate.

Here’s a closeup of one of the caterpillars.

All my Promethea moths hatched.  They came out very late this year – usually they hatch at the end of May.  I had mostly males this time – only one female.

Here’s one of the males

And the female

Mated Prometheas

A mother raccoon came by one evening with her five babies.