Larvae hatching from eggs. Extreme closeup. Sorry for the image quality - after cropping and inserting the copyright notice, the re-compression got the better of them!
Empty shells after larvae hatched
Larvae exhibit raised orange spikes, about five minutes after hatching. This lasts for about 10-15 minutes, then the larvae takes on a purely black color.
After about 20 minutes, larvae are completely black.
Slowly, the larvae start to show some color pattern changes as they grow. Still during the first instar, these larvae are 5 days old.
3-30-2005 A new brood hatches, and a group of 10 larvae is fed California Pepper Tree, to verify records that this tree is sometimes used as a host. The larvae reluctantly take a few bites and seem to react negatively by pulling back like a child getting a taste of bitter
food. Several hours later, after crawling around the container, they return to the plant and begin to feed. After several days they appear to be eating, leaving frass, and growing well.
2nd instar - freshly molted larva - Again this coloration lasts a short while (about 30 minutes) then the larva takes on its standard 2nd instar colors (see next)
2nd instar - normal coloration
2nd instar - Just before molt to 3rd instar
These images of 2nd instar larvae were shot in the field in natural light with a hi-resolution camera on 4-30-2005. Note the variation in coloration.
3rd instar molting from 2nd instar
Mature 3rd instar larvae. Note the yellow feet.
These images of 3nd instar larvae were shot in the field in natural light with a hi-resolution camera on 4-30-2005.
Fresh 4th instar larvae.
Fresh and mature 4rd instar larvae. Length: about 2 inches.
These hi-res images were shot on 5-27-2005 and show a freshly molted 5th instar (left) and a mature 5th instar (right).
5th instar larvae, normal coloration. (June, 2004)
5th instar larvae, nearing full maturity - 3 to 4 inches long at about 6 weeks old. (June, 2004)
During a sleeve change, this pile of about 30 nearly mature larvae were transferred by hand to fresh host. These are some really large caterpillars. The whole pile probably weighed a pound or better. 6-8-2005