Return to Life Cycle Studies of Lower Rio Grande Valley Butterflies
On 4/23/2011, I observed a Southern Skipperling - Copaeodes minimus
lay a single egg on Bermuda Grass - Cynodon dactylon. I collected the blade of grass and brought it inside
to begin a 45 day life cycle study of the Southern Skipperling.
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
Bermuda Grass - Cynodon dactylon is abundant throughout
the most of Texas and all of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. It is the caterpillar food plant of Southern Skipperling and
many other grass and spreadwing skippers.
Day-1 (4/23/2011) the white, spherical egg was laid.
Day-4 (4/27/2011) from when the egg was laid. The
caterpillar has begun to eclose.
Day-5 (4/28/2011) from when the egg was laid. The caterpillar
has fully eclosed and has eaten most of the egg casing. The caterpillar is 1.5mm long.
Day-6 (4/29/2011) from when the egg was laid. Day-2 as
a caterpillar. The caterpillar is 2.5mm long.
Day-11 (5/4/2011) from when the egg was laid. Day-7 as
a caterpillar. The head color has changed to green with very tiny black spots on the head. The caterpillar is
Day-14 (5/7/2011) from when the egg was laid. Day-10 as
a caterpillar. The black spotting is missing on the head, but two light, curved lines have formed on the head.
The caterpillar is 6mm long.
Day-17 (5/10/2011) from when the egg was laid. Day-13 as a
caterpillar. The light, curved lines on the head are well defined. The caterpillar is 8 mm long.
Day-22 (5/15/2011) from when the egg was laid. Day-18
as a caterpillar. The light, curved lines on the head are gone. The caterpillar is 12mm long.
Day-25 (5/18/2011) from when the egg was laid. Day-21 as a
caterpillar. The caterpillar is 13mm long.
Day-29 (5/22/2011) from when the egg was laid. Day-25 as a
caterpillar. The caterpillar is 18mm long.
Day-33 (5/26/2011) from when the egg was laid. Day-29
as a caterpillar. There is a definite change in its appearance. The caterpillar is 19mm long.
Day-36 (5/29/2011) from when the egg was laid. The
caterpillar has just formed its chrysalis. The caterpillar never formed a "J". Note the unusual point
on the end of the chrysalis.
Day-40 (6/2/2011) from when the egg was laid. Day-5 as
a chrysalis. The butterfly's wings can be seen.
Day-44 (6/6/2011) from when the egg was laid. Day-9 as
a chrysalis. I really blew it on this one: at 0800 hrs. on 6/7, the chrysalis had darkened, considerably.
I thought I had time to get photos of the darkened chyrsalis and the emerging butterfly, but two hours later it had already
Day-45 (6/7/2011) the butterfly has emerged.
It has been 45 days from when the egg was laid, 41 days from
when the caterpillar eclosed, and 10 days in the chrysalis to make a Southern Skipperling. The butterfly was released
a few hours after emerging on 6/7/2011.