From caterpillar to cocoon to moth! After posting photos of Fir Tussock Moth larvae and cocoons, I thought for completion’s sake I should post the photo I took of the adult. This photo is from a couple weeks ago but I’ve been holding off on posting it. My coworker who first found the caterpillar I photographed put it in a terrarium to observe its metamorphosis and eventually added a second one, and even though the first one eclosed around the beginning of the month I was waiting to see what was going to happen to the second.
Turned out the second one was a victim of a parasitic tachinid fly! I did my best to get a photo of the fly that emerged from the cocoon, but even though I popped the container in the fridge to slow it down it still got away before I could snap a picture. Still, cool!
Anyway, here’s what a normal non-parasitized adult tussock moth looks like. This is a male – the female have no wings. (Moths without wings, who knew?)
It’s too bad that the moth only stood still when he was on this unnatural, non-contrasting background, but I’m lucky I got a photo at all considering what happened with the fly. And I would just like to point out that even though I’ve posted a ton of insect-related stuff this spring, prior to this there have been four consecutive non-insect posts! I can only resist for so long…