Death’s Head Hawkmoth: Caterpillar parasitised.

1 Death'sHeadHMoth-cat [JaniceAng] 1

“On 26th May 2016, we found a 4th instar Death’s Head Hawkmoth (Acherontia styx medusa) caterpillar feeding on Blue Snakeweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis) in the Butterfly Garden at Seletar Country Club (above, below).

3 Death'sHeadHMoth-cat [JaniceAng] c4 Death'sHeadHMoth-cat [JaniceAng] d

“The following day we noticed ‘pimples’ appearing on the caterpillar, indicating that it will change instar. A day later a new instar appeared and the caterpillar was feeding normally.

4 Death'sHeadHMoth-cat-parasitised [JaniceAng]

“On 2nd June the caterpillar turned brown. It turned upside down and became darker brown. It was searching for a place to pupate (above).

5 Death'sHead HMoth-parasitised [JaniceAng]

“A day later a dark spot appeared on its body and this dark spot spread within the hours (above).

6 Death'sHeadHMoth-cat-parasitised 040616 [JaniceAng]

“On 4th June the caterpillar had turned all black and maggots of parasitic Tachinidae flies exited the caterpillar’s body (above and videos below).

”By the next day a total of 21 maggots (8×3 mm) had turned into pupae. The pupae were of the same colour as the maggots but soon turned orange-red
(below)…

7 Death'sHeadHMoth-parasite-pupa  [JaniceAng]

“…then dark brown (below).

8 Death'sHeadHMoth-cat-parasite-pupa [JaniceAng]

“The video below shows the pupae being collected for further observations – apologies for the poor quality as it was taken with the container cover intact to ensure the flies do not escape.

“Images of the Tachinidae fly are shown below.

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Foo Jit Leang & Janice Ang
Seletar Country Club’s Butterfly Garden
Singapore
4th June 2016

Note: All images and videos by Janice Ang.

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