Abaeis nicippe life history
Sleepy Orange (Abaeis nicippe) Life History

Egg, 9-20-09

Recently eclosed caterpillar, 9-23-09


9-28-09, leaf damage visible


10-7-09; note orange spots along white stripe of mature caterpillar

10-8-09, chrysalis recently formed

10-12-09, pre-emergent chrysalis

Fresh Sleepy Orange, 10-14-09

In September, 2009, I observed a Sleepy Orange ovipositing on Dwarf Senna, Senna pumilio. I monitored the plant and was able to collect the caterpillar when it eclosed three days later.

The caterpillar took 15 days to mature and pupate; the butterfly emerged after 6 days. The journey from egg to adult took just 24 days.

In subsequent experiences raising Sleepy Orange, first-instar caterpillars have crawled inside flowerheads and remained there for a few days. These flower-feeders take on the orange color of the Senna blossom. Older caterpillars have shown little interest in the blossoms. Perhaps the flower eating is a defense mechanism to protect the tiny caterpillars.

When one of these once-orange caterpillars I raised emerged as an adult, I was able to photograph it as its wings extended. That life history may be seen here.

Sleepy Orange Page