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6943 Views 15 Replies Last post: Aug 11, 2013 9:17 AM by MikeHardman RSS
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Jul 28, 2013 1:13 PM

Answer to a (missing) question about angle shades moth pupae

Well, I was just replying to a question about angle shades moth pupae, but the question disappeared

In case it reappears, here's my answer.

If it does reappear, presumably this will look impressive in the stats about how long it takes for a question to be answered on NaturePlus!


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They don't usually produce much silk.


Moisture is critical however, as you suspect. But so is ventilation - else fungi can take hold. You were right to be concerned about the mildew. It can be difficult to get it right in captivity.


It is easy to presume from the fact that there are two generations of adults a year, that offspring from the first may emerge later the same year. But I don't know if that is true.

This angle shades entry on this page suggests that this species 'usually overwinters as a larva' and 'larvae may be found most months of the year' - ...Again, it leaves room for doubt about the answer to your question. (Thanks to Reg Fry, Shane Farrell and David Howden.)


Richard South's 'Moths of the British Isles', Vol.1, 1961 does not help in this respect.


I suggest you try asking Brian Stone - there's a link to his email under this photo of a pupa he reared from egg





  • Hi Mike,


    Thanks for that info and the link. The question that disapeared was probably mine because I still dont understand that message `You have 15 minutes to mark this as a question ` when it doesn`t tell you how to do it and although its there when you start a new thread it seems that once you`ve posted it you can`t mark it even when you edit it .

    (madness). It got me so mad I pulled it off , rephrased it and reposted later on. As you point out, airflow is probably the best way to prevent spores from settling so I will rig up a tiny fan or put it in a draught somewhere. I thought if I dampened the earth slightly and kept a strict eye on them it should be alright. There was no sign of silk except while the larvae were very young. When the larvae stopped eating and went slightly yellow they dug into the earth altogether in a space of about ten minutes like little automatons. It was an amazing sight. When they hatch and if all goes well they may do it en masse so I will try to video it. I dont suppose there is way of sexing the pupae? I shall try Brian Stone, Thanks again,



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  • Hi Mike,


    Very many thanks for the advice and links especially the last one whih had some excellent detail. As far as I can tell all the eight pupae that I have are males having looked at under a strong magnifier. However the extra four hairs on the females are very fine and perhaps have rubbed off. That said I don`t suppose you know whether , as in many species there is a predominance of males. Couldn`t find an answer to that online. One thought though, when I had all the caterpillars (around 30) I set free the smaller individuals and kept the larger so I may have inadvertently affected this.



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  • Hi Mike,


    The first of the moths hatched last night. And they are not  p. meticulosa but e. lucipara which probably explains why the pupa were slightly different. I did have my suspicions because the pupae were also slightly smaller  but never realized  how similar the caterpillars were. It look as if this first is a female - long slender attennae no feathering.

    Couldn`t get any photo of hatching but will post a photo when the camera has re-charged. Going to see if she`ll take a little nectar before releasing her.




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  • IMG_0368.JPG

    Hi Mike,


    It gets complicated. But after looking at the photos online I think you may be correct. The one that I photographed is hiding in my room after escaping. I suspect I`ll see it again when dusk falls. I have some photos of the larvae but they are rather inconclusive but I`ll put one here anyway. There seems to be a lot of variation in these larvae and adults. Perhaps theres a clue in the feed plant which was Clematis. Also even if I don`t catch the one thats hiding there`s seven more waiting to hatch and they are fine and very darkened now so should hatch soon and I shall check for the curved spur on the tibia of the fore-leg which I`ve since found out is particular to Mamestra Brassicae. Apparently they are considered a pest. Ho hum.

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      • Another twist in the road.


        Number 2 hatched successfully yesterday and 3 & 4 don`t look too happy. I knew some might not all make it but perhaps it was my fault. I moved them to somewhere where some condensation developed overnight and I realize now that the pupal case has to be fairly crisp and dry for them to hatch properly which makes me wonder why they pupate in soil. I watched number 2 hatch and it was all over in a flash   about 15 minutes actually released he/she last night but made sure there was plenty of cover.

        As I went to the bathroom last night having switched off the computer I saw this P1010618.JPG on the window which I believe is the `Dot Moth`. Another Noctuid I believe.


        Regarding The Cabbage Moth I have found this online at:




        where it says `can always be identified by the presence of a curved spur on the tibia of the fore-leg` If any do not survive then I shall look with my microscope.


        4 more still to hatch.


        No 5 successfully hatched - spur very visible on foreleg

        Taken some good pictures which need editing more later.

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