Wednesday, September 30, 2009

'Instars' after the rains!

This year the rains came late and lingered till end of August. The butterflies and moth caterpillars waste no time in completing their life cycles; Here are some I managed capturing on the lens, in the beginning of September.

The above picture is that of a lime butterfly caterpillar which is probably in its third stage (instar)of moulting. The picture below is that of the same caterpillar after two more moultings. Now it is in its last 'instar' and the next stage will be the pupa and then the lime butterfly. The host plant is the Chinese Orange tree.

If the caterpillars of lime butterfly are fast eaters, they pale in comparison with the moth caterpillar's eating capacity. The picture below is that of the Elephant Yam moth caterpillar. This one could devour huge leaves of the yam plant overnight and was found hiding beneath the leaf during the day. I could not observe this caterpillar in its next stage; probably a mynah or babbler found this packaged fast food irresistible. The caterpillar disappeared sometime during the day.


Anonymous said...

Thank you very much! I had not seen the Yam moth caterpillar before.

Please give us the scientific name also!

IndianWildlifeClub said...

I do not know the scientific name. I have observed a moth in my yard last year which could have metamrorphosed from a similar caterpillar. I had elephant yam plant in my garden then too.

So we need an expert to identify the species.

IndianWildlifeClub said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kanak Hagjer said...

Hi Susan, I'm now learning to identify caterpillars such as the ones you've posted. I hope I can actually click away as a butterfly emerges....can't say when that'll be!! The moth caterpillar looks similar to the ones I have now...voracious feeders! Loved the photos!

IndianWildlifeClub said...

Thanks for the comments. Look forward to your postings in terrafarmer.