Tuesday, March 22, 2011

large yellow underwing ~ 03/22/11 ~ at home

large yellow underwing moth pupa
Noctua pronuba

While I was turning one of my compost bins last week (posted 03/27/11, pics taken 03/22/11), lo and behold I found a little surprise. And, no, it is not a turd. Good thing I didn't slice it with my trowel! Considering I released several dozen caterpillars in this compost bin last fall, I'm fairly sure this is a painted tiger moth pupa. I know, I know, I said I wasn't going to disturb this bin until October or November of 2011. However, the prolific weed of hairy bittercress set seed a month ago in this bin, and I pulled them all out. The pupa measures about 26mm in length and wiggled furiously when I laid a cold plastic ruler next to it. I've since placed the pupa in its own container with soil and pantyhose on top to await to see what emerges. I'm keeping the container outside so as not to falsely speed up the development of this pupa with the warmth of our home. The timing of my observations so far does not match the literature, e.g., W.E. Conner's Tiger Moths and Woolly Bears.

For those new to my blog, here's a timeline of past tiger moth posts with embedded links:
October 17, 2010 - found an adult female laying eggs next to our front door
October 26, 2010 - eggs hatched and I collected the caterpillars
November 6, 2010 - released 2nd instar caterpillars in compost bin

Here are couple things to note: 1) I frequently call caterpillars "cats." Even though I've loved up to 3 kitty cats at one time, usually I'm referencing the insect. 2) I'm actually raising several different Lepidoptera on my balcony right now.

ps 05/25/11 - I posted this originally as a painted tiger moth pupa and now that it emerged on 05/13/11, I have corrected the ID above. To read the new post on this large yellow underwing moth, click here.


Allison said...

I thought it WAS a turd, Katie! Oh gosh! Very interesting find. Never seen anything like it. :)

biobabbler said...

OMG, I am SO excited to see how this develops. I'm so excited you are raising all those Lepids on your porch--fervently hoping for updates when things change! =) sweet!

camissonia said...

That is so cool, Katie! Can't wait to see this guy's final metamorphosis. Btw, the pupa looks like an acorn to me, not a turd. So there.

Jennifer said...

I come across these from time to time in my garden but can't identify them. They look just like the one in your photo, but I have never taken the time to capture them and see what emerges. If it isn't a moth, maybe it's a cutworm? Next time I come across one I will do what you did and find out for sure!

Bob Bushell said...

It's a baby. Double joy.

Jennifer said...

Sorry, just had to clarify my comment 'if it isn't a moth' what I meant is if it isn't a painted tiger moth. Hoping the ones in my garden don't turn into cutworms - eek!

Jennifer and Steve said...

Can't wait to see what emerges! Ok, you must tell me how long you were in Ohio. Are you from here? Did you go to school here? We are still very new to the nature scene here so I don't recognize some of the names you mentioned, but Jerry Weidmann is most certainly still involved and organized most of the butterfly wksp. His daughter Susan was there as well. I love it that you know these people. Hope you're well!

Nature ID (Katie) said...

It does my heart good to hear other people think this pupa find is amazing. Usually when I mention this kind of stuff to friends, I get this bored glazed look of "Oh, there she goes again talking about gawd knows what." It may be several months before this moth emerges, so hope y'all have some patience.

Jennifer, many moths have pupa that look just like this. The best way to identify is to see the adult and second best is to see the caterpillar.

J&S, I went to OSU and lived in OH for 9 years. Glad to hear Jerry is still kicking.

Nature ID (Katie) said...

The moth emerged! I have corrected the ID and added a posted script to this post. To read the new post, check out large yellow underwing moth.