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Exciting caterpillars of every color, stripe, shape and size!

Me - Mariposario's guest blogger :)
Lots happening in the caterpillar lab the last couple weeks!

    P1200275 P1200505 P1210188

P1220195P1220220Found
a bunch of these beautiful black & white caterpillars on a
Cecropia tree right off of our balcony. We rescued all of them (as they
would have almost surely become wren food otherwise) and have had fun
watching them grow up! I’ve gotten to
watch half a dozen now hang themselves upside down from a leaf or
branch only to find them transformed the next day into what looks like a
little piece of wood. None have emerged yet but we’re guessing that it
will be what is locally known as a Cecropia butterfly, clearly
referencing the host plant we found these guys on. I’m feeling good
about my chances of getting at least a couple of them photographed when
they emerged, with having so many of them!

P1200966 editThen
there’s this crazy colored one! I discovered a vine back behind our
property that grows way up to (or maybe down from) the trees that is the
host plant for this new favorite mystery caterpillar of mine. I’ve
found four of them but only am only attempting to raise 2. Josh told me
the anal horn probably indicates that its a moth. This seems especially
likely since I’ve had one of the two pupate now and it pupated on the
floor of the box instead of attaching onto something and hanging.
Actually right before it pupated, it looked dead! As you can see in the
picture it had faded in color, shrunk a bit and seemed to have oozed
some sort of liquid. But later that evening, sure enough there was a
little brown pupa where that dead looking caterpillar had been. Can’t
wait to see what it will turn into!
P1200305 P1200975 P1210097 P1210229

P1220165P1220169Finally
there’s this giant! Thanks to some help from our facebook community we
feel pretty certain that its going to be a Banded Hawk Moth. The thing I
didn’t know before is that Hawk, or Sphynx moths as they’re also called
pupate bellow ground! To simulate this environment it was suggested
that we place the caterpillar inside of a used toilet paper roll, cover
it with leaves and then place it somewhere dark. So it’s now living in a
box under my bed! Unfortunately I read somewhere that it may
take 5 weeks for it to emerge and by then I’ll be back in the states!
Josh and I are returning to Montana (my home state) mid-August til early
November to get married and spend some time there before returning for
the busy season. I’ll have to see about having someone adopt my hawk
moth pupa before I leave – but I don’t know if I’ll end up with any
pictures of it when it emerges! Either way, getting to see it as a
caterpillar was unforgettable.

P1200888Oh!
But I almost did forget this guy! Our neighbor thought it was eating a
heart shaped vine on his fence although we never got to see it eat
because turns out it was ready to pupate. Looking back at some pictures
of mine I realized I have seen this type of caterpillar once before
eating papaya leaves.  But either way its done eating now and is looking
particularly pretty in its shiny yellow chrysalis.
P1200997 P1210113

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