Sunday, August 9, 2009

MACRO MONDAY TUSSOCK MOTH

I have posted about this species before but when I spotted two of the life stages on one tree earlier this week it was an obvious choice for this weeks Macro Monday.

The Tussock Moth must be the ultimate reverse of the Ugly Duckling story. This spectacular caterpillar



With its totally flamboyant headgear


transforms into this utterly unremarkable moth!


This is the flightless female, she emerges from her cocoon which you can just see as the grey woven mass in the top half of the picture she remains in that spot, emitting pheromones to attract the male. She mates with the male and then lays her egg mass right on top of her cocoon, the egg mass is the white area in the picture. When she has laid her eggs she dies, having never moved from the spot where she emerged from her cocoon.


And in case you think that these beautiful caterpillars that emerge into male moths fare any better, not really, the male moth is the same drab colour as the female, it just has brown wings! See what I mean about the reverse Ugly Duckling story??

For lots of great macro posts, check out Macro Monday and discover a whole new world!


Photo Credits - CJT

17 comments:

cherie said...

amazing that you caught all the stages! excellent job!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I'm so grateful I wasn't born a moth. Amazing photos and great info about them. Thanks!

~Lisa

Nicole said...

Amazing to see this beautiful caterpillar and then see the end result.
Thanks for all the Info. This is really cool :)

moresecretwhispers said...

these are great macro's, you can see all the little hairs!

the females must have a depressing life :(

definitely reverse ugly duckling!

Regular Guy said...

Great shots and a ton of patience. You're right about the reverse ugly duckling story.

lecoinperdu said...

That first shot is great, showing a lot of detail...really a colourful creature tyhis one1
ronelle

Ed said...

Great shot! Amazing how things turn out in the animal kingdom..:-)

CTG Ponies said...

Excellent photos!

Quinn said...

They certainly are a lovely caterpillar! They were our first homeschool science project many years ago and I haven't seen one since. Thanks for the walk down memory lane :)

colleen said...

Amazing how you managed to capture all that! You're right too, caterpillar much prettier than actual moth....

WildBlack said...

Great details! :D

dibear said...

This fella is really interesting. Looks fluorescent!

Rambling Woods said...

This is so timely for me. I have a photo of what I think is some kind of Tussock Moth caterpillar, but there were no takers on BugGuide to tell me if I was right. Here is the link to it...

Moth

Holly said...

Oh my! Great shots

Far Side of Fifty said...

What a sad metamorphasis from beautiful to not so pretty..to lay eggs and die..sad.. BUT thanks for sharing.. I learned something new..and for that I am grateful:)

Kathiesbirds said...

Wow, that is quite a story! I wouldn't want to be that moth. I like to travel too much! I don't care about the fancy cloths but I sure would like some wings to fly with!

Louise said...

Truly amazing.