Amphibiotic moth (26)
Have you ever heard about amphibiotic or even aquatic moths???
I bet that some of you haven't :-)
So here it is one of them. Ladies and gentleman, let me introduce you:
Cataclysta lemnata - Small China-mark
Caterpillars of this quite unique moth are aquatic, live submerged and feed on duckweed (Lemna spp.). They may be found in various type of stagnant waters: ponds, lakes etc. In the workshop 1 I uploaded a picture of the pond where I photographed both presented moths. Also, around a year ago I posted a picture of young caterpillar of this species (please see it here).
Now is time for the adult stages:
The adult moths are small (wingspan 18-24 mm). They fly between end of May and August, and often can be attracted to light.
The one on the upper picture is a male. It may occur in two colour forms, light and dark. This is the light form - cream-white with China-like markings on wings. The males fly all day (more often in the evening) among the bank vegetation (eg. reeds) and look for females.
The female (lower picture) is bigger, massive and definitely darker of some cream-coffee colour. The females are not very keen on flying, usually they sit on the vegetation until mating takes place.
Here you can see the female during a very interesting process of egg laying. She simply puts her abdomen into the water and stick the eggs to the underside of Lemna leaves. In the workshop 2 you may also see the eggs in late developmental stage (with caterpillars seen inside).
Small China-mark is quite a common moth occurring in most of Europe. It's also quite easy to keep and observe.
I assisted my friend and TNer, Krzysztof Pabis (cataclysta), while he sudied its life cycle for his MSc thesis. He successfully kept and bred them in a tank half-filled with pond water and with a layer of Lemna sp. on the surface. Observing the adults, developing eggs and caterpillars was a lot of fun....
1) upper picture (male)
exposure 1/172, f 4.8
2) lower picture (female)
exposure 1/1466, f 7,6
Both pictures taken with Nikon Coolpix 5000, handheld, under natural light.