Disappearing moths????

Doug Yanega dyanega at mono.icb.ufmg.br
Tue Jun 16 09:31:59 EDT 1998

Sheena wrote:

>Is there some kind of parasite that could have eaten away the
>pupa, leaving only the skin?

Well, having had many of my moth and butterfly pupae "hatch" only Tachinid
flies, I'd say this is entirely possible. Just yesterday I had three flies
come out of one Automeris pupa, and a success rate here of one moth for
every four larvae reared is not unusual. Probably not as common in the
temperate region, but it must happen, I'm sure. If you want to check for
parasites, then you can confirm it by examining the pupal skin and see if
it opened the normal way - along the normal ecdysial lines at the head end
- and if so, then open it up and check inside for fly puparia (if it did
not open normally, then it was probably a parasitic wasp). If it's just a
shriveled larval skin, this is also sometimes due to tachinids which emerge
after the cocoon is spun but prior to pupation.


Doug Yanega    Depto. de Biologia Geral, Instituto de Ciencias Biologicas,
Univ. Fed. de Minas Gerais, Cx.P. 486, 30.161-970 Belo Horizonte, MG   BRAZIL
phone: 031-449-2579, fax: 031-441-5481  (from U.S., prefix 011-55)
  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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