Plume Moths on Joe-Pye Weed - June-July 2013
Stan Malcolm Photos - Specimens reared from larvae collected at the Ruby Cohen Woodlands Town Park,
Colchester, New London County, Connecticut on 11 June, 2013 (Tentative ID: Hellinsia elliottii)

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Stan Malcolm Photo

 

 

Feeding damage to the tips of Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium maculatum).

 

 

As caterpillars mature they move lower on the plant and tend to rest on the undersides of leaves.

 

 

The caterpillars are very hairy - with most long hairs directed to the sides.  Quite cryptic.

 

 

(This photo was sharpened to enhance viewing of the hairs.)

 

 

Caterpillars transformed into pupae prior to June 28th.  When resting flat (typical), pupae can easily be mistaken for caterpillars.  Head is at the right, facing down.  Short hairs are on the pupal skin over the right forewing.

 

 

Note the silk molting pad beneath it, easily seen at the left in this photo...

 

 

...and at the right (head end) in this photo.

 

 

At rest.  When disturbed...

 

 

...the pupa snaps backwards and retains this arched pose for several seconds (barely long enough for me to recompose, focus, and shoot) before returning to the at rest pose.

 

 

This pupa has its larval skin snagged on its back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first adult emerged on July 1st.  What a marvelous color.

 

 

The wings have a silvery sheen which makes their pattern hard to see.

 

 

In this photo, I reduced highlights to better reveal the wing patterning.