Life cycle of Lepidoptera Saturniidae Oxytenis naemia

 

© 2005 Canopy Quest, All Rights Reserved
If you look closely, you will observe the last instar of the caterpillar eating the upper left leaf. It is munching away on its preferred larval food plant - a small tree in the Rubiaceae family.
This is one of the largest and most prevalent neotropical plant families.
 A closer view reveals a wonderful pattern and shape to this caterpillar. When it is disturbed it pulls it head underneath and inflates its thoracic region. This exposes the eye spots and the reticulation between them in a very good imitation of a small snake head.
After weeks of voracious feeding, the caterpillar enters the pupal phase where the metamorphosis into the adult moth takes place. Here, two pupal cases are shown. After 2 weeks, an adult moth emerged. The second one never emerged; it had succumbed to a unidentified parasitic wasp that consumed it within the pupal case.
 The adult moth blends in very well with the leaf litter found everywhere in the rain forest. It even has a dark stripe that simulates the primary vein of a dead leaf. Active under the cover of darkness, it remains motionless throughout the day. Once it finds a mate, the cycle will start all over again.