Finding RA hatchlings and eggs!

susanlynne48(OKC7a)August 12, 2009

Why is this so difficult? Maybe I need to cut down some of the FN. My patch is humongous. I've only been able to find them when they move down to fold over their leaf shelter and this is often too late cuz they seem to suffer predation before then.

Anyone have photos?


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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

It is VERY difficult, Susan! The only way I can figure out is that I move everything I need to live out to my false nettles, and do nothing but wait for red admiral females to lay eggs - as soon as a female lays an egg, I'd immediately cut off the section of the plant with the egg on it and bring it in. Of course, I'd have to recruit people to help out, because I've got three big batches of false nettles, plus a scattering of them in my garden.
If I figure out an easier way, I'll let you know, and you do the same, okay? :)
If I could rid my RAs of parasitic wasps, I'd have red admirals flying everywhere!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 10:54AM
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...and the spiders that lurk in the foliage too! I looked in the I saw momma, but with the texture of the leaves compounded by the wet dewdrops this morning, it was futile. I'll try to catch her again....sigh

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 11:05AM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

I found an RA cat today and a whole bunch of empty leaf nests. The eggs are hard to see. Here is a photo of one that I found earlier this year--my very first egg.

I'll be checking out all the patches today for more cats.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 11:06AM
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Well, I finally found 2 eggs!!!!! Sandy, your photos helped immensely, but it was a very difficult job just to find these 2. They are soooo small and green like the foliage. Using a magnifying glass helped some, but a lot of it for me was sheer determination. I hope you don't mind if I re-post your link for newbies who really should check it out, if you want to find and identify eggs and new hatchlings in particular. Wow!

Here is a link that might be useful: Sandy's photos of Eggs and Larvae

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 3:56PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Those are fantastic pictures, Sandy!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 4:16PM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

Thanks, Sherry and Susan.

Just trying to help people find those little guys and support them. ; )

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 5:08PM
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Ok [ guess what. I checked this morning and did not find any sign of an RA egg or cat. Went back out this afternoon and found up to 20 tiny nests!! Yippee!! I now know they seem to utilize the second leaf (still tender, small) and fold it over, sealed from top to bottom, which then appears to look wilted and droopy. A bunch apparently hatched late morning-early afternoon, and they are quite efficient in hastily making a tiny nest. These guys can't be more than 1/16ths to 1/32nd in size! Amazing what they can do in such a short span of time! Hope this helps!


    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 10:40PM
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Yesterday, I got all the cats changed to another container. The leaves had pretty much dried out, but after checking, the cats were doing fine. I must have had eggs, too, because I saw 2 hatching as I worked with them. The cats are so clever! As they move down to the second leaf to feed, they first chew thru the petiole to make the leaf hang down which causes the leaf to fold in half lengthwise so the tiny cat can "stitch" it closed to create its nest. They are so tiny I'm afraid I'm going to squish one as I change out the food and container.

I just think that this caterpillar performs an amazing feat in fashioning its nest. I, for one, am very impressed!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 12:40PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Me, too, Susan! And isn't it a chore to keep them stocked in fresh food, when they make such a mess out of their leaves? Or maybe you haven't gotten to that stage yet, when they weave three or four leaves together in a wad, then eat parts of each leaf here and there.
I don't mind, though - I just LOVE red admirals!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 1:49PM
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I bumped this back up because I was going through the old posts to try to learn more about my new obsession and found this WONDERFUL link to Sandy's photos of eggs and larvae waaaaaay down on page 66!

It is the most informative of anything I've found so far. It is an excellent reference for newbies like me.

I've saved it to my favorites so I will always have it.
The only thing I wish was added was the name of the plant that each egg and larvae is on. But, I'm not complaining! I can look that up!

Thanks, Sandy, for taking the time to post this for us.


    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 7:33AM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)


Thanks for the suggestion. I'll add that to the website. I want the website to be as informative as possible.


    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 9:38AM
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