Another anatomy lesson, please

catherinet(5 IN)September 10, 2011

Could you please tell me where its real eyes are again? I found several of these cute little guys on my spicebush this morning. :)

Also, how many instars do these have and can you tell which instar this is? Will it pupate and eclose still this season? (zone 5).

Thanks a bunch!

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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Caterpillars are supposed to have eyes/tiny openings arranged in a semi-circle shape on both sides of their heads, but I'm not sure I've ever seen them. Here's a close-up picture of a gulf frit caterpillar, and maybe the dark areas on the head in the shape of a "C" (backwards on one side) are the eyes?

Your caterpillar isn't green yet, so it's probably one of the first three instars, and by the yellowy color I think I see - probably the yellow "eyes" showing through - it's probably a third instar cat. Cats have a total of five instars.
I made a picture of what I think is a third instar spicebush swallowtail caterpillar - actually, I've never tried to count instars - which looks like yours -

Sherry

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 1:00PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks Sherry!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 3:17PM
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bob_71(z7 MD)

Excellent pictures...both of you!

Bob

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 4:40PM
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ladobe

The stemmata of lep larva (sometimes called simple eyes, or in error lateral ocelli) are located on the head capsule in the approximate location the compound eyes of the adult will be, and they only detect movement. Far too much to go into here, but a ton of research has been done based around them, including how and why they metamorphis into compound eyes.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 4:52PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Those little Spicebush cats are so cute! The first time I saw them, I thought they looked like little polywogs. Such interesting changes they go through during their instars. Those fake eyes are very convincing, even when you know they're fake! Which of course, is the whole point.

I've got 8 chrysalises hanging out in the aquarium tank. They pupated between August 16th and the 29th and aren't showing any sign of emerging yet this year. I have no idea what to expect with these guys.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 1:26AM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

No expectations is the key to raising Swallowtails! I fed a lot of Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars early in the season. The last one eclosed a week ago. They eclosed all summer long. Your spicebushes will probably overwinter. I would put the aquarium tank outside on a porch or in an unheated garage. And start checking it again in the spring. I have had SBs eclose as late as October here, but I'm in zone 7.

Sandy

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 9:16AM
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