CATERPILLAR OF THE WEEK - IDIA PART 2: THE ECLOSION
This week we had some EXCITING developments with our nest of Idia caterpillars. Not only did we find a couple of Idia pupae, but we had an eclosion! With the adult moth shedding off the old pupa skin and drying its wings, we were able to more accurately identify this as the species Idia aemula, or the Common Idia. As if that wasn't cool enough, we also discovered a SECOND species of Idia, Idia americalis (The American Idia) sharing the nest with it's relatives! We could distinguish Idia americalis because it only has three pairs of abdominal prolegs as opposed to four in other species.
So we've learned that there are many ages and at least 2 different species of Idia sharing this nest. While they appear to be heavily parasitized (stay tuned for Idia Part 3), we're hoping to see lot's of lively adult litter moths pupating and eclosing over the course of the next month. Every look we take into this nest seems to result in some new and exciting discovery!.
Stay tuned for Idia Part 3 - Who knows what we'll find next!?