Doomed

When moths emerge from their pupal shell, their wings start out small and shriveled. Over time the wings expand and harden so the moth is able to fly.

Unfortunately, sometimes things go wrong, and the wings aren’t able to expand. We see this periodically here in the lab, and we’re not sure why. Yesterday this little fuzz ball, Proserpinus lucidus, emerged. Perhaps due to the fact that it was not actually due to emerge until spring, its wings never expanded.

proserpinus_1 copyWe’re also not sure why it decided to stand up like a person.

20140217_134148 copy For reference, here is a fully formed adult (from Moth Photographer’s Group)

This makes me wonder how often mistakes like this happen in the wild. I imagine a moth like this would become a meal for a predator fairly quickly.

If you have raised moths and/or butterflies before – have you had this experience before, and do you have a sense of why it may have happened? One of my hypotheses is that a moth may spend too much time in the pupal shell once fully formed, and the wings could become hardened before actually emerging. Or in the case of our moth, being kept in a cool room for overwintering, it may have simply been too cold.

About these ads

Posted on February 18, 2014, in Invertebrates, Lepidoptera, Sphingidae. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. In the lab, do they just die on their own, or do you sacrifice them? And do you say “sacrifice” in an invert lab? That’s what we called it in the rat lab.

  2. I wonder if a parasite may be responsible (like OE in Monarch Butterflies)?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Connecticut Entomological Society

Promoting insect research, conservation, and outreach

Saurian Obsessions

Life, love, and limb-reduced fossorial skinks

I spell it nature

Trying to make sense of the world through science and language.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 75 other followers

%d bloggers like this: