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Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
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mellielong
Sep 5, 2015 11:43 AM CST
So over on the butterfly thread, everyone has been tracking these mystery caterpillars I'm raising on Desmodium incanum. They're either Ceraunus Blues or Gray Hairstreaks but I'm kind of leaning toward the Blues. However, I had a surprise today when I was checking the container. A tiny flying thing was in there. Now, a few days back I did have a small green caterpillar pupate on one of the leaves. I thought it was smaller than the other cats but it didn't occur to me that it was an entirely different species. Keep in mind, these things are the size of a grain of rice.

My first thought was that it was some kind of parasite and I sort of panicked. But I managed to get it on my finger and take some pictures and I thought maybe it was a type of moth. I'd send it to BAMONA but honestly, I wanted to make sure it was a moth and not some kind of other insect first. So really, if you just want to tell me it's a moth, that's fine. If you happen to know the family or suspect a species, that would be helpful, too. Now, let's look at some pictures!

This is the pupa.

Thumb of 2015-09-05/mellielong/96db5f

And this is what emerged today.

Thumb of 2015-09-05/mellielong/fdf4f6 Thumb of 2015-09-05/mellielong/d6a402 Thumb of 2015-09-05/mellielong/18fec8

Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
Image
mellielong
Sep 5, 2015 2:35 PM CST
After a little research, I think this is a type of Plume Moth. Now to find out which one! I did send it to BAMONA once I was sure it was a moth. I didn't want to look like an idiot and send them some insect that wasn't a butterfly or moth.
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
Charter ATP Member Organic Gardener Garden Photography Bee Lover Dragonflies Cat Lover
Butterflies Birds Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Spiders!
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JRsbugs
Sep 5, 2015 2:44 PM CST
It is a moth, it seems to be in the family Pterophoridae. See the similar pupa ..

http://bugguide.net/node/view/610802/bgpage

They are not well represented on bugguide.

http://bugguide.net/node/view/4561/bgpage



Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
Image
mellielong
Sep 5, 2015 2:54 PM CST
BAMONA didn't have many species listed, either. I'm wondering if they'll be able to identify the species of just tell me what family it's in. Sometimes they do that. When I Googled the host plant and "plume moth" I found an academic paper that talked about the species Exelastis pumilio (aka Hepalastis pumilio) being found on Desmodium incanum here in Florida.
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
Charter ATP Member Organic Gardener Garden Photography Bee Lover Dragonflies Cat Lover
Butterflies Birds Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Spiders!
Image
JRsbugs
Sep 5, 2015 2:55 PM CST
I searched the host plant on the NHM, only one in the family came up which is Exelastis pumilio.

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/research/projects/hos...

http://www.boldsystems.org/index.php/Taxbrowser_Taxonpage?ta...

This should be a female judging by the shape of the abdomen.
Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
Charter ATP Member Organic Gardener Garden Photography Bee Lover Dragonflies Cat Lover
Butterflies Birds Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Spiders!
Image
JRsbugs
Sep 5, 2015 2:55 PM CST
Snap! Hilarious!
Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
Charter ATP Member Organic Gardener Garden Photography Bee Lover Dragonflies Cat Lover
Butterflies Birds Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Spiders!
Image
JRsbugs
Sep 5, 2015 2:57 PM CST
Good photos here ..

http://mothphotographersgroup.msstate.edu/species.php?hodges...

http://mothphotographersgroup.msstate.edu/slow.php?plate=15&...
[Last edited by JRsbugs - Sep 5, 2015 2:59 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #945082 (7)
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
Image
mellielong
Sep 5, 2015 3:04 PM CST
Thanks, Janet! There are so many moths that we don't really have a lot of information on. I'm glad we could do some research together to figure this one out! That Desmodium incanum has been quite a plant. The butterfly thread has been watching me because I'm growing Long-Tailed Skippers and Dorantes Skippers on it. Then, I have my mystery caterpillars and now a moth sneaked in! So many caterpillars being supported by this "weed". I love it!
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
Charter ATP Member Organic Gardener Garden Photography Bee Lover Dragonflies Cat Lover
Butterflies Birds Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Spiders!
Image
JRsbugs
Sep 5, 2015 3:21 PM CST
Thumbs up

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