Tiny 1st instar larvae just after hatching out of their eggs. Filmed 6-30-2004
5 days later, they have grown significantly, and are shown here in a custom-made rearing container. Note that the host plant (Sticky Monkeyflower) cuttings' stems fit tightly through small holes in the film canister's lid, which prevents the tiny larvae from crawling down into the water-filled bottom and drowning.
10 days later, the first four photos below show their growth is slow but steady; 11 days after that, the remaining photos show that they are now in 2nd instar and nearly a quarter-inch in length. It won't long before they will seek out rolled-up leaves or leaf debris at the base of the plant in which to hibernate for the rest of summer and through the winter.
As the little larvae molt into 3rd instar, they take on a somewhat shortened and fatter shape, then lay dormant for the remainder of the season. In spring, they awaken with yet another molt and begin feeding in earnest. By the time May comes around, the larvae are about fully mature and ready to pupate. The last photo below shows a batch of larvae collected in late March, in various stages of growth after emerging from diapause (hibernation)
The first photo is of a 2nd instar larva photographed in Bouquet Canyon on Monkeyflower host, March 2005. The remaining three are nearly mature larvae, collected from Monkeyflower foodplant in Bouquet Canyon in April of 2004.
Unfortunately some larvae fall victim to parasites, as seen in the photos below. Parasitic wasps or flies lay their eggs in or on the larva, which feed on and develop inside it. When they reach maturity, they chew their way out, killing the larva (if it wasn't already dead), and spin their own cocoons. They parasite then pupates and finishes its life cycle, emerging from its cocoon as an adult.
Those larvae that manage to survive, locate a suitable place on the host plant, and secure themselves upside-down by the tail. Hanging in this "flying-J" configuration, they prepare to pupate.
These images of live mature larvae were taken on 4-8-2005 near Beale's Cut in Newhall, CA. Finding them was somewhat spotty, but a few bushes had 10-20 larvae each on them. The floods of 2005 may have washed many larvae away from the bushes growing in the low-lying washes and gullies.
These are the same larvae pictured above, in the process of pupating on 4-22-2005. Note that the pins used to secure the pupae to the backboard are pinned through the tiny bit of silk at the tail end which the pupa is attached to, NOT through the pupa itself.
Vaious pupae images from 2004. Note the unusual white coloration.
The sequence below was shot on 4-26-2006 and shows a pair of pupae; the dark one is just about ready to emerge while the other is still a week or so away. Note the clearly visible wing pattern through the nearly transparent pupal case. Around noon when the temperature reached about 72F in the lab, he bagan to emerge and expand his wings.
Images 1 - 5: An adult emerging in 2004. Images 6 and 7: a female emerging on 5-3-2006.
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