RSP Hibernaculum Process

runmede(7a Virginia)October 2, 2010

I thought the tiny caterpillar would eat the whole leaf. It started with the very end.

Caterpillar pretending to be waste material. The leaf material under the caterpillar also contains waste.

Shaping Leaf. Leaf is attached to the twig with silk. Most of the leaf is cut off and drops down to the ground. It does not eat the whole leaf. It makes a spoon shaped section and then silks it together to make a small round nest.

Green Leaf Segment, turns Brown to match fall colors. These stay on the twig all winter. In the spring, when the tree leaves begin to grow, the caterpillar emerges and finishes its cycle. These leaf nests are only about 1 and 1/2" long and about 1/4" inch wide.

RSP in Hibernaculum (Oops, I think I made my leaf nest too small.)

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bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)

VERY cool photos! What a neat thing to see it this way. Thanks so much for sharing. ~~Angie

    Bookmark   October 2, 2010 at 8:18PM
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Wow...that is so interesting!
What kind of tree or leaves is it using? Thanks for sharing...I'd have never seen it in the wild & don't see very many of these in my yard per season. Only a couple a year! I am keeping out rotting fruit & I've seen my second adult this is a picture.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 9:34AM
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runmede(7a Virginia)

That is a small Black Cherry that I have potted. I used the rotting fruit and rigged a butterfly trap. I captured the adults and put them into one of those 5' net containers. Make sure the tree hits the top of the cage. I also put in a nice plate of fruit for them. Just kept them for a couple of days and let them go. They left me a nice group of eggs. I'll winter these over and watch them finish their cycle in the spring.

I've also gotten eggs by placing the potted trees near the rotting fruit. Hint, hint, they can dine and lay eggs, too.

I raise butterflies and moths for conservation. I have found that the more butterflies you raise and release, provide plenty of nectar and host plants, the more butterflies you will have in your area.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 9:54AM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

Thanks for sharing, Runmede. I have a small wild cherry tree that I potted up this past year--I get lots of seedlings in the yard from the old tree in my neighbors yard. I'll have to set up a tent and try this next year when the RSPs are in abundance. I am currently finding the Viceroy hibernaculums on my Willow tree.

BTW, love the photos.


    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 10:37AM
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Great information! It's amazing that they know to sew the dried leaf to the branch so it doesn't fall off over winter.
After the leaves fall, I will check my trees and look for rolled up leaves. I have wild black cherries and have also seen a RSP visiting my birch tree.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 10:55AM
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runmede(7a Virginia)

The leaf nests are very small, but once you find them then you will find more. The tiny leaf nests can be collected and wintered over or collected in the spring. You can do that in the fall after the leaves fall or in the spring before the trees leaf out.

I love Viceroys, but haven't seen many of them this year. I use the same set up for Viceroys and collect a few eggs, too.

Raising Limenitis archippus archippus by Todd Stout

I've noted that on warm days the tiny RSP caterpillars are coming out of their leaf nests and sunning themselves and also eating a bit more.

Here is a link that might be useful: Raising Limenitis astyanax astyanax by Todd Stout

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 12:27PM
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