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As mentioned previously, moths are often more difficult to photograph than butterflies. They hide during the day, and they aren't big and showy. Also -- unlike many butterflies -- moth life cycles aren't always well known, so it may be harder to know where to look for them.

To remedy this, I've been posting some moth life cycles. For example, this week we have a more complete genista moth life cycle.

First we found the orange, black and white larval stage on Texas mountain laurel bushes.

By the way, these are sometimes call sophora worms because their host plant's scientific name is Sophora secundiflora.

Those pupated in a loose silken cocoon.

We waited as the caterpillar changed into a moth.

Ta da! The genista broom moth (Uresiphita reversalis) has emerged.

It belongs to the family Crambidae, the grass moths. Can you see why another common name for the group is snout moth?  Perhaps it will be easier to see from a side view:

The mouthparts form a point at the front of the head that resembles a snout.

Coincidentally, I found another caterpillar from the family Crambidae this week.

This is a mint moth caterpillar in the genus Pyrausta.

Hopefully, we'll find out what the snout looks like for this moth in a few weeks.

In case you are gearing up for National Pollinator Week June 22-28, 2020, remember that moths are pollinators, too.

Related:

Have you spotted any moths or caterpillars this week?

This empty pupa says it all.

Our little green caterpillar from past posts has revealed his identity. He is a male bougainvillea caterpiller moth, Asciodes gordialis. Although I originally thought he might be a pyralid caterpillar, he turns out to belong to the family Crambidae.

You can tell its a male by the dark tufts mid-way up the antennae and the dense fringe of hairs on the front legs.

You can see the fringe of hairs on the front legs better in this view.

Unfortunately, circumstances weren't the best for taking good photos.  For some excellent quality photographs of a male bougainvillea caterpiller moth, see Jim Burns Photos.

Bougainvillea Caterpiller Moth Life Cycle

Let's recap what we discovered over the last few weeks (with links to past blog posts.)

bougainvillea caterpiller moth caterpillar hidingThe caterpillar feeds on and hides in rolled up bougainvillea leaves.

Bougainvilleas are brightly-colored shrubs that flower throughout the summer in Arizona.

The color comes from the red or magenta sepals, which are not flower petals.

The true flowers are these tiny white ones. The caterpillars feed on leaves near the sepal clusters at the tips of the stems.


The caterpillar is green with a bit of mottling on its head capsule.


Looking closer, it was easy to see the breathing tubes or trachea through the the caterpillar's clear exoskeleton. The dark green line down the back is its heart.


Before it pupated, the caterpillar turned pink.

And then it pupated.

Maybe someday I'll be able to find some eggs, and we'll have the complete life cycle.

 

Want to learn more about moths? National Moth Week is coming up July 22 through 30, 2017. Check the website for events near you.

This year the focus will be on tiger moths.