A Life Cycle, Completed

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…

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