E. boisduvaliana life history
Boisduval's Yellow (Eurema boisduvaliana) Life History

Fresh egg, 12-25-12

Egg showing larval development

A recently-emerged caterpillar

First instar of study caterpillar with leaf showing feeding damage, 12-29-12

Second instar, 1-1-13

Third instar, 1-3-13

Fourth instar, 1-6-13

Fifth instar caterpillar is 20mm; 1-10-13

Fresh chrysalis, 1-14-13

Pre-emergent chrysalis, 1-26-13

Fresh Boisduval's Yellow, 1-27-13

A female Boisduval's Yellow visited my yard on December 22, 2012. I placed her in my small shade-cloth covered greenhouse. There were plenty of flowers for nectar; I provided a potted Senna corymbosa and branches of Senna lindheimeriana. On Christmas Day, with the temperature reaching 82 F,  she rewarded me with one egg on the lindheimeriana and many more on the corymbosa. Adults were obtained from both hosts.

I brought several eggs into the house. The following two nights, lows were 36-37 F. The greenhouse was covered but not heated. Many of the eggs on the upper branches of the plant appeared to have been damaged by the cold weather.

The indoor eggs eclosed after three-four days. I continued to monitor the outside eggs. A couple of caterpillars emerged around January 7, when the temperatures reached the upper 60s F. A few days later, temperatures in the mid-70s F brought out the rest of the larvae that did eclose. At this point, with impending cold weather, I brought in all the caterpillars I could find and raised them in an incubator with the temperature set at 80 F.

The recently-emerged caterpillars were whitish; they consumed the eggs after eclosing. Before long they turned green, probably after leaf-feeding began. The young caterpillars usually rested on the edges of the leaves and when feeding ate tiny holes in the leaves. In later instars, the caterpillars would rest along the leaf's midrib.

The study caterpillar emerged on December 28. It entered the second instar on December 31, and the third instar two days later. The thrid and fourth instars lasted about 3 days each. The final instar lasted 5 days. This caterpillar, kept in an incubator at 80 F, took 18 days to pupate. The chrysalis was kept in an unheated room but not incubated; the adult emerged 13 days later.

More than a dozen adults were raised. Several were released; one was still in the yard a week later. Two pair were placed in the aviary to breed on their own. In this manner I eventually obtained a third generation of butterflies; these were all released. A female from this group oviposited on a Senna corymbosa plant in the yard.

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