The Rio Grande Valley's Nature Site

Mexican Bluewing - Myscelia ethusa Life Cycle Study

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On 8/27/08, I observed a Mexican Bluewing - Myscelia ethusa ovipositing on our backyard Vasey Adelia - Adelia vaseyi.  I collected the leaf and egg to bring into the house to begin a 34 day life cycle study.  On 9/30/08, the butterfly emerged and was released.

All photos on this site are by Jan Dauphin and are copyright protected and may not be used or published elsewhere without the permission of Jan Dauphin
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Vasey Adelia - Adelia vaseyi is the host plant for the Mexican Bluewing - Myscelia ethusa.  This tall shrub is present, but uncommonly scattered, throughout the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

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Day-1 (8/27/08) A Mexican Bluewing - Myscelia ethusa was observed ovipositing on a Vasey Adelia - Adelia vaseyi , in our yardThe egg is visible on the bottom of the light colored leaf, just above the butterfly's abdomen.

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Day-1 (8/27/08) the Adelia vaseyi leaf and egg were collected for rearing the Mexican Bluewing.

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Day-3 (8/30/08) from when the egg was laid.  The red spot is indicative of the caterpillar forming inside the egg.

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Day-4 (8/31/08) from when the egg was laid and the caterpillar has eclosed, beginning Day-1 as a caterpillar.  Even at this first day, the caterpillar has built a frass chain, and the caterpillar has crawled out onto the chain.

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Day-5 (9/1/08) from when the egg was laid, Day-2 from eclosing.  The caterpillar is 3mm long.

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Day-8 (9/4/08) from when the egg was laid, Day-5 from eclosing.  The caterpillar is 4mm long.  Note the beginning formation of "horns" on the caterpillar's head.

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Day-10 (9/6/08) from when the egg was laid, Day-7 from eclosing.  The caterpillar is 6.5mm long.  The caterpillar continues to maintain a frass chain. 

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Day-13 (9/9/08) from when the egg was laid, Day-10 from eclosing.  The caterpillar is 11mm long.

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Day-16 (9/12/08) from when the egg was laid, Day 13 from eclosing.  A face only a mother could love.

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Day-18 (9/14/08) from when the egg was laid, Day-15 from eclosing.  The caterpillar is 20mm long.  Note that just above where the leaf attaches to the stem, the caterpillar has attached silk from the stem to the leaf inorder for the leaf to be held horizontally.

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Day-23 (9/19/08) from when the egg was laid, Day-20 from eclosing.

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Day-23 (9/19/08) from when the egg was laid, Day-20 from eclosing.  The caterpillar is 34mm long.

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Day-25 (9/21/08 at 1909hrs) from when the egg was laid, Day 22 from eclosing.  The caterpillar is 31mm long.  The caterpillar is making a silken cremaster to attach its back end to the box.

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Day-25 (9/21/08 at 1937hrs) from when the egg was laid, Day 22 from eclosing.  The caterpillar is 31mm long.  The caterpillar has turned around 180 and has attached its back end to the cremaster on the horizontal side of the box.

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Day-26 (9/22/08) from when the egg was laid, Day-23 from eclosing, Day-1 as a chrysalis.  The chrysalis is 22mm long. 

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Day-33 (9/29/08) from when the egg was laid, Day-30 from eclosing, Day-8 as a chrysalis.  The darkening chrysalis is indicative of imminent emergence.

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Day-34 (9/30/08) from when the egg was laid, Day-31 from when the caterpillar eclosed, Day-9 as a chrysalis, and the female Mexican Bluewing-Myscelia ethusa has emerged.

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Day-34 (9/30/08) from when the egg was laid, Day-31 from when the caterpillar eclosed, Day-9 as a chrysalis, and the female Mexican Bluewing - Myscelia ethusa has emerged and was released back onto the Adelia vaseyi.

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