I came across this lovely little girl a couple of years ago and seriously couldn’t believe my eyes. One of the most beautiful species of moth I’ve ever had the pleasure of photographing.
Female adults lay translucent eggs singly on leaves of the host plant, mainly Vitis (grapes), and Parthenocissus (Virginia creeper). Caterpillars are large, green or red with a swollen third thorax segment into which the head and first two thoractic segments can be drawn. The abdomen has a small white spot on the second segment, and big white oval spots the last five spiracles. They also have the characteristic “horn” at the end of the abdomen, until it is replaced by a button in its last instar. Larvae consume copious amounts of foliage, and when they are ready they climb down their host plant and burrow underground, where they pupate. The pupa is dark brown in color, quite slender, and has a long cremaster. There the pupa will remain for either a couple of weeks or a couple of months, depending on the generation. When the pupa is ready, it wiggles to the surface just prior to eclosion. The newly emerged adults then climb on a plant or some other surface, and pump fluid into their wings to extend them. Females emit pheromones at night, and males fly into the wind to pick up and track the pheromone plume.
Ok I’ve been busy. I’m sorry! I have like months of catch up to do, but I’m still in field season! Here’s a fantastic recent find: Eumorpha pandorus! I hope this makes up for my inactivity. I’ll be trying to post more soon.