Acronicta americana – pupation

A couple of weeks ago my Acronicta americana caterpillars decided it was time to pupate. I provided them with some soft wood, and they dug right in!

They were mostly white or only lightly yellow-tinged before they started, but once they began digging they darkened up. Their hairs and underlying body color all turned a brownish yellow in order to blend in with the wood a little better.

Most Acronicta caterpillars burrow into wood in some fashion in order to pupate. Some of these Acronicta americana made tunnels all the way in, some made troughs that they covered with bits of wood, and some were lazy and made their cocoon on top of the bark.

Here you can see some of the silk and bits of wood one caterpillar used to protect itself.

Every day I check the container excitedly, I cannot wait to get some adults! I had 10 A. americana caterpillars pupate, so I should have a pretty good series once they all emerge.

Posted on August 1, 2011, in Acronicta, Acronictinae, Invertebrates, Lepidoptera, Noctuidae. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. How long was it before it emerged from its cocoon? My daughter and her friend found one and are anxiously waiting…

    • If a caterpillar pupated within the last month it might emerge before the end of summer. Usually about three or four weeks after pupation. It may also wait until next spring.

  2. I found one of the caterpillars today in MA so I’d like to keep it over the winter and see it emerge next spring. How can I do this so it doesn’t hatch too early or freeze over the winter?

  1. Pingback: What’s Fuzzy and Yellow and Lives in a Forest? | ZOO*3700's Blog

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Ryerson Lab

Functional Morphology, Sensory Biology, Behavior, Biomechanics

I spell it nature

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

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