The Enigma of Larval Lepidopteran Life Stages (prepupal, pre-prepupal, pre-pre-prepupal etc)

I wrote up some observations I've had re: different phases caterpillars will go through in an excellent conversation with @kimberlietx and I wanted to immortalize it here, because I know I'll be coming back to it. Also, I'm joking about the pre-pre-prepupal but not the other one.

Prepupal vs pre-prepupal

(I made that second one up... as far as I know)

Prepupal: an insect in the nonfeeding, inactive stage between the larval period and the pupal period.

Basically, this is what you see when you have a caterpillar hanging in the J or upside down or whatever position they take and freeze in before transforming. Or this is what the caterpillar looks like after the cocoon is all made and they stop spinning silk. Basically, they scrunch up (to half to 1/3 their original length in my observations!), get super fat, stop moving except to roll around and look like they're dying or twitch if their siblings are crawling over them.

Some of my prepupal observations:
io moth:
tawny emperor:

What I consider to be the pre-prepupal is when you can tell they are a day or so away from pupating. Their heartbeat is visible through their back at the centerline at this point, and they are still eating and more or less active, just slower. I haven't really seen this in the butterfly caterpillars, but the moths definitely have this. They will also start to lose their coloration and they look kinda sick and/or dying. This is the stage they are in while they are laying down their silk pads or starting to think about cocoons.

Some of my "pre-prepupal" observations:
Anicla. This one I have a gif I need to upload showing the heartbeat, and this observation, the middle photo is actually the prepupal one who pupated first. In these their backs turned rosy before going prepupal:

Carolina sphinx (my observation comments say it's prepupal, but that was before I knew better):
For comparison, there's a good actual prepupal photo here:

I still have a ton of caterpillar photos to upload, should be getting to those this week and I'm going to get hardcore into tagging with prepupal, pre-prepupal, or whatever. I remember finding a baby, and when it acted sick and wouldn't eat, I released it the next day. When I went through the photos later, I realized I had a pre-prepupal baby that I really should have kept because now I'll never know who it was!

הועלה ב-יולי 24, 2017 10:08 אחה"צ על ידי nanofishology nanofishology


You have excellent observations on the stages and subtleties. Book-marking this page!

פורסם על-ידי kimberlietx לפני יותר מ 6 שנים

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