Saturday, November 07, 2009

Io Moth (Automeris io) Life Cycle




Female Io Moth: Tend to be a reddish brown color. White-filled, black and blue eyespots on hindwing are distinctive for this species.




Male Io Moth: Tend to be a more yellowish brown color. Were his wings open fully, you'd see the male also has the distinctive eyespots on his hindwings.




Io Moth eggs: Normally, the female would lay her eggs on a larval host plant -- and the list of host plants includes over 100 different species, but for some reason these eggs were laid on the framing of our porch.





Io Moth caterpillars emerging from eggs after approximately ten days. Early larvae (caterpillers) are gregarious (i. e. They stay together.). Early instar caterpillars are often seen moving around a host plant in a "train".





Final instar caterpillars vary from green to yellow. These caterpillars will leave the host plant and form a papery cocoon usually in leaf litter. They emerge from the cocoons as adult moths. In the south, up to four generations per year are possible, but only one generation is common in northern latitudes. (The above photo is by Sturgis McKeever via Forestry Images and is used in accordance with Creative Commons copyright protection.)

CAUTION: Io Moth caterpillars should not be handled. They have urticating setae (barbed hairs that break off and inject a poison). The degree of resulting irritation varies depending upon the amount of contact and the sensitivity of the individual.




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13 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I wouldn't dare touch a caterpillar but I always want to pet these large soft velvety looking moths. Absolutely wonderful photos Marvin. You outdid yourself this time with those eggs hatching out. Wow.

Wren said...

I love those eye spots. Don't think I've seen the male previously. He looks very different.

WR said...

Wonderful detailed photos! I love it when folks really "see" through the lens of a camera and you DO!

Thanks for visitng my blog! Hey, we are both 'cancers' however I'm a bit older than yourself. :-)

Have a great week end!

eileeninmd said...

Great photos, I love the firs moth, it is beautiful.

i beati said...

beauties sandy

Carol said...

Beautiful Moth...and a very informative series of photos. Thanks

www.wildlifearoundus.blogspot.com

Oskar said...

Great information and great shots!

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Wonderful photos and interesting! I love moths and butterflies.

eden said...

great shots..

jabblog said...

Stunning sequence of photographs! Goodness, the patience and perseverance you must have.

Lana Gramlich said...

Wow...Wonderful opportunity for great shots!

birdy said...

Wonderful Marvin! The moth is beautiful, however the eggs and caterpillar are even more beautiful. Love the eggs picture particularly.

ramblingwoods.com said...

What a beautiful moth. I have only just started to look beyond birds to insects and have been excited as to what I can find to add to my nature journal....Michelle