Purple Hairstreak Life cycle
The Great Purple Hairstreak Butterfly (Altides halesus) is widely distributed in the southern and western United States, but is considered a rare butterfly in most places, and is seldom seen by most people. The larvae feed on various species of Mistletoe. The adult butterflies rarely open their wings, except to take flight, and usually appear dark charcoal/black-colored when at rest with their wings over their backs. The only time to see the amazing spectacle of their irridescent top side is when they first emerge from the chrysalis and expand their wings. Just like the Morphos of South America, the irridescent scales appear to change color as the light refracts from them at different angles. The freshly emerged adults appear to be bright metallic green for the first few seconds, then change color to a more aqua-blue or purple as the scales change their angle during wing expansion. The sexes are dimorphic, with the smaller males being a deep metallic blue-green, while the slightly larger females are a less reflective powder blue color. The music is "Newton's Prizm" by Technician, MP3 released online at HTTP://technician.jcmdi.com
Pipevine Swallowtail Life Cycle
This video showcases the entire life cycle of the Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly, from mating to the emerging of the adult. Many time lapse sequences and extreme close-ups are included. Original music is "The End Of Summer" by Technician.
White-Streaked Silkmoth Life Cycle
This compilation of videos and stills chronicles the life cycle of the White-Streaked Silkmoth (Saturnia albofasciata) from mating through emerging. Time lapse sequences of never before seen events, such as pupation inside the cut-away cocoon, are covered in this amazing video! Music "Oasis" is by Technician.
Euryalus Silkmoth Life Cycle
A collection of still and video images showing the complete life cycle of the Euryalus Silkmoth (Hyalophora euryalus) from mating to emerging. Included are all 5 phases (instars) of the very colorful larva, time lapse and live action sequences of adults emerging, expanding/flexing their wings, and egg-laying video. The music is "Ocean View" by Technician.
Electra Buckmoth Expanding, Mating, and Ovipositing
Many time lapse and realtime video sequences show rarely documented behaviors of the Electra Buckmoth (silk moth) [Hemileuca electra]. Time lapse footage includes wing expanding, scenting, mating and egg-laying (ovipositing). The music is "Blue Sky" by TECHNICIAN.
White-Streaked Silkmoth Mating and Hand Pairing
This short documentary shows how the rare and difficult to rear White-Streaked Silkmoths (Saturnia albofasciata) can be mated in captivity, both hand-paired and un-assisted. This footage was shot in Santa Clarita and Juniper Hills, CA during the 2007 season. The music is "Jolly People" from the Technician CD "Digital Dreaming".
White-Streaked Silkmoth Ovipositing
A short video showing the White-Streaked Silkmoth (Saturnia albofasciata) laying eggs. The music is "Midnight" by Technician.
Pale Swallowtail 2nd Instar Larva Cryptic Coloration
This little guy is taking a break after a mid-day snack. Unlike some caterpillars which hide under the leaf or lower inside the plant, these little larvae prefer to sit right on top of the leaf in full view, where they use cryptic color patterns to immitate a bird dropping. As they get older they change to a green color and tend to stay on the stems since they are too big and heavy to rest in the center of the leaf any more. The uncanny resemblance to an actual bird dropping is shown. Original Music by Technician.
Western Sheepmoth 5th Instar Larva
Some close-up video showing the mature larva of the Western Sheepmoth (Hemileuca eglanterina). These caterpillars must be handled carefully because their spines contain a toxin which can produce multiple painful stings, similar to Stinging Nettle plants. These larva have started their "wandering" phase where they scatter from the host plant and search for a secluded place to burrow into the earth to pupate. The music is "Shake Well" (last half) by Technician.
Pipevine Swallowtail 4th Instar Caterpillar Molt to 5th Instar
This 4th instar Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar (Battus philenor hirsuta) sheds its skin to begin its 5th and final instar before pupation. Note that its old head capsule (the black shiny thing on its face) gets stuck and it has to struggle to knock it loose. It comes off at about 38 seconds. The music is "Doom Level 5" from Technician's add-on episode 2 for ID's original DOOM video game.
Nevada Buckmoth Larvae Group Molt
Here, a group of Nevada buck Moth (Hemileuca nevadensis) larvae molt their skins as a group. Notice that the larvae are of different sizes (although not of different ages) and still molt together at roughly the same time. The exact synchronization mechanism is still a mystery. The music is "Shake Well" by Technician.
White-Streaked Silkmoth Failts Cocoon Building 101
A dumb-dumb White-Streaked Silkmoth (Saturnia albofasciata) tries but fails to spin its cocoon. It tried again in several other locations but never did get it right. In spite of not having a cocoon, it managed to pupate and emerge as an adult moth just fine. It must not have been paying attention when the teacher covered the finer points of making a cocoon! The music is "The Hunt" by Technician.
Pipevine Swallowtail Pupation Time Lapse
A Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor hirsuta) caterpillar performs its final molt as it pupates into a chrysalis in time lapse. Actual time was about 90 minutes.
Pipevine Swallowtail Spins Suspension Loop
This time lapse sequence shows a Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly (Battus philenor hirsuta) caterpillar attaching itself to a twig. It does this by spinning a silk button to attach its tail-end to, and a silken loop to suspend its upper body. About two days after this procedure, the larva pupates into a chrysalis where it will begin the transformation (metamorphosis) into an adult Butterfly. The music is "We Fall" by Technician.
Indra Swallowtail Pupations Timelapse
A very close-up look at the pupation process of the Indra Swallowtail (subspecies phyllisae), accompanied by still images of the adult, larvae and a time lapse emerging sequence. The music is "Idnarepo Sodum" by Technician.
Velda Pinemoth Pupation, Contortion and Emerging
This could be from a Sci-Fi mutant insect invasion movie - but it's actually 100% nature! These are actual photos and video documenting the pupation process of the Velda Pine Moth (Coloradia velda), a member of the Saturniidae family of giant silk moths. This pupation process normally happens a few inches underground, in a small chamber constructed in the soft earth by the caterpillar. After spending the winter in this underground cocoon chamber, it develops, emerges from the pupal case and claws its way to he surface. Once there, it expands its wings and begins the short (2-7 days) adult phase of its life where the primary function is reproduction. The soundtrack is "Monster Music" from the Technician CD "Halloween 2001".
White-Streaked Silkmoth Emerges and Expands Wings
A male Saturnia albofasciata moth emerges from its cocoon in time lapse. The cocoon has been partially cut away to observe development and movement and doesn't seem to bother the moth. After he emerges, he expands his wings by pumping a body fluid into them. The music is "The Voice" by Technician.
Velda Pinemoth Emerges and Expands Wings
Realtime + time lapse video of a Velda Pine Moth (Coloradia velda) emerging from its pupa, then expanding its wings in 30x time lapse. Original music by Technician.
Gabb's Checkerspot Emerges and Expands Wings
This video features realtime and time lapse footage of a Gabbs Checkerspot Butterfly (Chlosyne gabbii) emerging from its chrysalis and then expanding its wings. The music is by Technician.
5 Sonoran Blues Emerge and Expand Wings
5 Sonoran Blue butterflies (Philotes sonorensis) emerge from their chrysalis and expand their wings in 30x time lapse. The music is "Sonoran 3" by technician.
Pima Orange-Tips Emerge and Expand Wings
These beautiful desert Orange-tip butterflies (Anthocaris cethura pima) are found in the southwestern United States, in the deep, arid stretches of the Mojave and adjacent deserts. Three individuals are shown here in time lapse video while emerging from their chysalis and expanding their wings. The music is "Sundogs" by Technician.
Butterfly Feeding – Apache Fritillary
This female Apache Fritillary (Speyeria nokomis apacheana) is placed on a plastic cap filled with 10% sugar and 90% water solution, then nudged until she senses it with the "taste buds" on her feet and begins feeding. She uncoils her tongue and feeds for about 90 seconds. The music is "Cold Fusion" (improv/pre-release version) by technician.
Field Trip – Hunting Ford's Swallowtail
A short documentary featuring a trip to the Mojave Desert's Granite Mountains in search of the Ford's Indra Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio indra fordi). These delicate creatures survive in an incredibly hostile environment of bare rock, scant plantlife and low rainfall. While the adult butterflies are rarely encountered, the eggs and caterpillars can sometimes be found by locating the host plants, Cymopterus panamintensis (Desert Parsley) at the right time of year. The music is "Brenda's Song", composed and performed by Technician.
Field Trip – Searching for Becker's White
This desert outing takes us to the Antelope Valley in the southwestern Mojave desert, near Palmdale, California. We're in search of Becker's White (Pontia beckeri) adults and early stages for rearing and life cycle documentary. After a tip from a colleague (thanks, Brian!) a large population was found and filming began. The butterfly was found in all stages of its life cycle, which made much of this video fairly easy to make. There was even a freshly emerged female (chrysalis still visible in the shots) found mating on one of the host plants! The rearing and detailed life cycle documentation is now being carried-out back in the "laboratory". That video will be released some time in the future. The soundtrack is another adlib experimental piece by Technician, called "G'echo" (Sounds like "Gecko").