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713RE: [Indianmoths] OHM - life cycle

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  • Ian Kitching
    Mar 9, 2007
      Dear Shubhada,
                              Nice photos of the OHM life cycle. Where in India were they taken? Many (?most) sphingid larvae are polymorphic, usually with green and brown colour forms. There is no well-researched reason why this should be, though it may be something to do with enlarging the search image of predators. If predators "get their eye in" for a green caterpillar, then if all are green, they could all be easily found. However, if some are brown, they could be missed. The predator has to learn two patterns to get all the caterpillars, which may be beyond some to do. Whatever colour form initially, all larvae darken prior to wandering to find a pupation site. This is to give them increased camouflage while walking across the ground, where a bright green caterpillar would stand out.
      Best wishes,

      Dr Ian J. Kitching
      Leader, Lepidoptera Division
      Department of Entomology
      The Natural History Museum
      Cromwell Road,
      London SW7 5BD, U.K.

      Tel: (+44) (0)20 7942 5608
      Fax: (+44) (0)20 7942 5229

      email: I.Kitching@...

      Web sites:
      Creating a taxonomic e-science:
      CATE Sphingidae home page: <http://www.cate-sphingidae.org/>
      Wiki site: <http://wiki.nesc.ac.uk/read/cate?SphingidaeRevision>
      Sphingidae of the Eastern Palaearctic:
      URL: <http://tpittaway.tripod.com/china/china.htm>
      Sphingidae of South-East Asia:
      Sphingidae evolutionary biology home page:


      From: Indianmoths@... [mailto:Indianmoths@...] On Behalf Of shubhada nikharge
      Sent: 08 March 2007 18:13
      To: Indianmoths@...; renee vyas; Hutoxi Rustomfram; Usha Desai; hutoxi arethna
      Subject: Re: [Indianmoths] OHM - life cycle

      Hi Rahul,
      Nice photo. Here is a lifecycle of OHM. It was really
      interesting. The cat preferred to feed on flowers.
      When flowers were not available it fed on leaves.
      (Food plant : Alstonia scholaris or devil's tree or
      saptaparni or satvin )

      I have noticed 2 types of caterpillers of the OHM;

      one that changed colours as if it was changing its
      outfits in a fashion show (cat1). It changed from
      green to brownish black till the day of pupation.
      (Pics of all stages are attached)

      The other one which was initially green in colour,
      turned brown and did not change the colour thereafter
      (cat 2).

      Both pupated in soil. The moths emerged were more or
      less similar. The pupation period was 13 and 16 days
      respectively for cat 1 and cat 2.
      Is it sexual dimorphism? can anyone explain?


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