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M O T H (Stauropus fagi Linn.)

On 4th July, 1957, I was delighted to receive from our member, Mr. G. J. Baker, of Reydon, Southwold, a number of ova of S. fagi. These had been laid on 30th June and Ist July by a female that had been caught in Mr. Baker's light-trap. The ova were cream in colour and of the typical, hemispherical shape of most of the Notodontidae, with a small, dark-coloured indentation at the tip. T h e ova turned darker just before they hatched on 8th July. The larvae ate most of their eggshells soon after hatching, but it was not until 10th July that they consumed any of the beech leaves with which they had been provided. Some books State that leaves are not eaten until after the first moult, but most, if not all, of these larvae began to feed on the leaves before their first moult, which occurred about 15th July. The newly hatched larvae resemble very closely large brown ants, especially in the way in which they move and wave their legs. As they grow, the appearance of the larvae becomes quite fantastic. The second and third pairs of legs are very long, and when the larvae are disturbed, they wave these legs in the air and simultaneously " rear up " the ends of their abdomens which are furnished with a pair of filaments. This pose undoubtedly accounts for the " crustacean " populär name of the species. Dßring the moults, all of which take several days, the larvae assume the most grotesque attitudes. The larvae were not difficult to rear, and fed readily on beech leaves, probably their favourite food-plant in the wild State, though I have discovered them also upon oak and birch. The final instar was a long one ; it was not tili 22nd August that the first signs of spinning-up were observed. The normal manner is to draw together with silk two leaves to form a shelter inside which the cocoon is spun. This was done by several of the larvae, though a few spun themselves up between a leaf and the side of the Container. The cocoon, attached closely to the inside of the shelter-leaves, is thin and papery, and the pupa is dark brown. It remains to be seen whether the moths emerge successfully during the summer of 1958. S.


Rearing Lepidoptera  
Rearing Lepidoptera