Autumn Leaf butterfly: 4. Caterpillar laying silk prior to pupating

on 15th March 2016

An earlier post describes how the caterpillar weaves a tiny pad on the underside of the leaf before attaching itself and slowly turning into a pupa.

Subsequent handling of pupal cases and pupae showed that the tiny pad of silk that the pupating caterpillar clings to is supported by a wide expanse of silk laid on the leaf surface (above). This expanse of silk extends to the other surface if the pad is near the edge of the leaf (below left). In the case of a horizontal twig, the supporting silk is laid around the twig (below right).

This ensures that the pupa does not get easily detached as it swings vigorously during its subsequent development.

The video above shows the pupating caterpillar laying silk on both sides of the leaf where the future pupa will finally attaches itself on.

YC Wee
December 2015

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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