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The 9th annual National Moth Week is coming up July 18-26, 2020, so let's take a peek at the abundance of moths in our yard right now.

First there were the genista caterpillars (previous post).


This genista caterpillar was on a neighbor's Texas mountain laurel so I gave it a home.

It made a loose silk cocoon on the cloth at the top of the container and pupated. The orange-brown crescent shape looks like a typical moth pupa.

Perhaps we'll have a moth to show in the next few weeks.

We found at least two separate species of caterpillar on our desert fern tree. The green looper was the larger of the two.

It pupated in the bottom of its container.  Pupae from the family Geometridae often show some emerald green coloration in the thorax region.

Here's the adult. I'm not entirely sure what the species is, but it is common right now.

This is probably another of the same species I found sitting on a wall a few days later.

Moths can be hard to photograph, first of all because they hide in the shadows during the day and secondly because they fly away when someone approaches them.

This powdery gray moth was unusual because it was feeding on a milkweed flower during the day.

Notice the curious fold in the forewing?

You can see the curved fold even in the open wings.

The examples above are just the tip of the moth iceberg.

Let's keep an eye out for moths over the coming weeks and try to learn more about them. For activity suggestions and information, visit the National Moth Week website.

Looking for children's books about moths? Then check out Jerry Pallotta's gorgeous new Not a Butterfly Alphabet Book: It's About Time Moths Had Their Own Book!, illustrated by Shennen Bersani,

plus others on our growing list of children's books about moths and butterflies at Science Books for Kids.

A few weeks ago we found some caterpillars on our palo verde tree. The best way to find out what species they are is to raise them to adults.

Toward that end, we kept one in a container with some food.

It is now a pupa.

So amazing how most moth pupae look identical.

Here's the pupa of the bougainvillea caterpiller moth, Asciodes gordialis. Doesn't it look the same?

Back to the palo verde one, you would think it would be easy to take a photograph of something like a pupa because it is just lying there. Fact is, a moth pupa is amazingly active. It can thrash its abdomen and roll around farther and faster than expected.

Even a pupa can be camera shy!

 

Remember the green caterpillar that showed us its trachea and heart?

It has been going through some changes.

One morning it looked like this. No worries though.

There's nothing wrong with it. The green caterpillar has entered the phase of the life cycle called the prepupa. It was ready to change into a pupa.

Sure enough, the next day it had pupated. Can't wait to see what the moth looks like.

Too bad the pupa isn't see-through like the caterpillar was, so we could see the changes happening inside.

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Aside:  Every year we expect to hear cicadas around Father's Day. Sure enough, Father's Day was Sunday and we heard our first cicada on Monday. Talk about sticking to a calendar!