Wordless Wednesday – Chrysalis

by Deb on January 5, 2011

Chrysalis

At least I think  it’s a chrysalis, Google has let me down.  There I was, thinking I need to choose a photo for Wednesday’s post, when look what my husband found in the garden.

It’s definitely a pupa of some sort, the stage between the larva and the adult insect.  Moths usually make a coccoon around their pupa, but butterflies just have the skin.  Amazingly, you can clearly see the three insect body segments are still there, but there are no legs and the eyes are covered by the tough skin.

It’s supposed to hang from that spike on the end, it’s been disturbed.  And it seems to be one of the species that can move, it could curl the abdominal segments a little at those joins.

You can see how big it is, larger than a child’s finger.  We get some very big caterpillars here that I suspect are hawkwing moths, plus the usual butterflies.  But while I’ve found lots of photos of the adult moths I’ve only found a few wildly different photos of caterpillars and none at all of the pupae.  So if there are any Australian entomologists out there – what have we got?

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

LearnCreateDo January 5, 2011 at 9:07 am

You had me googling. Would be interesting to know what it is.
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Ro January 5, 2011 at 9:49 am

No idea but if it starts whistling Campdown Races you know you’ve got a walnut sphinx caterpillar 😉
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David January 5, 2011 at 10:26 am

It’s some sort of Hawk moth pupa. The species will depend on what the caterpillar was feeding on. Here are some examples from this moth family http://www1.ala.org.au/gallery2/v/Sphingidae/

David
: )

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Deb January 5, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Excellent, that confirms what I was guessing. The species we have around here appears to be Hyles livornicoides but I haven’t been able to find photos of the caterpillars to confirm it – the only yeperenye caterpillars I’ve seen photos of look quite different to ours.

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Wendy January 5, 2011 at 10:33 am

Hi, I think it might be a hawkmoth. There is a site on the internet called ‘what’s that bug’ you can send photos with info and they will help you find out what it is.
http://www.whatsthatbug.com

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Deb January 5, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Thanks for that link, I have several photos I might be sending off!

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Tamara January 5, 2011 at 1:15 pm

I cant wait to see the photo when it hatc hes

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Deb January 5, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Unfortunately when I checked this morning it was very messily dead 🙁 We had it in the shade but obviously that wasn’t enough, it probably needed the moisture of the grass or something as well.

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Shailender @ Travel India January 5, 2011 at 8:02 pm

I don’t know what it is but I’ll be coming here again and again to check the other replies until I got to know what really it is??
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Meryl January 5, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Not sure, but the Australian Museum has helped me out with some ID’s a couple of times. I even got to have an animated discussion about native bees with one of their resident bug dudes last time I took the kids up.

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Trish January 5, 2011 at 11:44 pm

wow how interesting to show a child , we love the Hungry caterpillar book !
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SquiggleMum January 7, 2011 at 12:20 pm

We’re all into butterflies/caterpillars/etc here too! Post coming when I’m back online properly next week. I would put my money on hawk moth for yours too. I blogged about one a little while back. Try this link for sphingidae info 🙂

http://lepidoptera.butterflyhouse.com.au/sphi/tryoni.html
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Marita January 7, 2011 at 3:35 pm

What a fascinating mystery.
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