Sunday, July 1, 2012

Dobsonfly Pupae Becomes Adult

 Above is the picture I posted two weeks ago just after the Hellgramite larvae shed its skin into this interesting pupae.  Nine days later I photographed it again the night before it emerged as an adult Dobsonfly. 

The color changes in the wings, legs, eyes, jaws, head and thorax. The wings especially will grow enormously after it emerges, as can be seen in the pictures below.
 If this picture is compared to the close up of the head in the previous post there are a lot of color changes.  The skin of the pupae seems to be separating from the new skin underneath of the adult Dobsonfly around the eyes and on the back of the head.

Even at this point the pupae was very active and trying to bite with its jaws.  It was difficult to get it to sit still long enough for the pictures.
 Here is the cast off pupal skin I discovered the next morning.  It is entirely intact with only a split on the back where the Dobsonfly emerged.  Except for the vacant head and eyes, it looks alive, but a bit transparent.
 Here is the adult female Dobsonfly that emerged from the pupae.  She is a little over 4 inches long and very agressive and defensive.  At night after dark she was flying strongly around the room.

The day after I took this picture someone brought a male into the nature center. Its photo is below. The big difference between the males and females is very obvious.  The pincers on the male are huge, and he can use them effectively, drawing blood from a finger that is not protected when positioning him for a photo shoot!

 Here is a last shot of the two heads showing the difference.  Notice also the two extra eyes in the middle of the top of the head that face slghtly backwards.  I had some interesting reflection from these eyes with the flash from the camera.  I will put those pictures up in a future post.

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