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Sep 5, 2015 11:43 AM CST
Name: Melanie
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Bookworm
Region: Florida Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Salvias
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
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Sep 5, 2015 2:35 PM CST
Name: Melanie
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Bookworm
Region: Florida Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Salvias
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.
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Sep 5, 2015 2:44 PM CST
Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
Bee Lover Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Dragonflies I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member
Cat Lover Garden Photography Butterflies Birds Spiders!
It is a moth, it seems to be in the family Pterophoridae. See the similar pupa ..

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

They are not well represented on bugguide.

http://bugguide.net/node/view/...
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Sep 5, 2015 2:54 PM CST
Name: Melanie
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Bookworm
Region: Florida Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Salvias
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.
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Sep 5, 2015 2:55 PM CST
Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
Bee Lover Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Dragonflies I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member
Cat Lover Garden Photography Butterflies Birds Spiders!
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-...

http://www.boldsystems.org/ind...

This should be a female judging by the shape of the abdomen.
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Sep 5, 2015 2:55 PM CST
Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
Bee Lover Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Dragonflies I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member
Cat Lover Garden Photography Butterflies Birds Spiders!
Snap! Hilarious!
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Sep 5, 2015 2:57 PM CST
Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
Bee Lover Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Dragonflies I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member
Cat Lover Garden Photography Butterflies Birds Spiders!
Last edited by JRsbugs Sep 5, 2015 2:59 PM Icon for preview
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Sep 5, 2015 3:04 PM CST
Name: Melanie
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Bookworm
Region: Florida Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Salvias
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!
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Sep 5, 2015 3:21 PM CST
Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
Bee Lover Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Dragonflies I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member
Cat Lover Garden Photography Butterflies Birds Spiders!
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