Tailed Aguna (Aguna metophis) Life History


Fresh egg

Developing egg
            

First instar
            

Second instar
     

Third instar
     

Fourth instar
     

Fifth instar
     

Pupa
     

Fresh adult Tailed Aguna

In June, 2015, I confined a female Tailed Aguna with the reported host plant, Mexican Orchid Tree, Bauhinia mexicana. By the following day she had produced 10 eggs, and I released her. Two eggs were deposited on different leaves of the host plant. The other eight were deposited in pairs on the netting of the cage. On the same day I released this individual, I photographed another as it was resting on the underside of a Bougainvillea leaf. When I inspected the pictures, there appeared to be an egg on the leaf. I went back to the bush and found a pair of eggs on what was certainly not a viable host. It makes one wonder if Tailed Agunas commonly lay eggs off-host in pairs, and if so, why? (The eggs on Bougainvillea turned out to be infertile.)

The fertile eggs from the original female quickly took on the appearance of a target, with a red center and a red band interrupting the original white. The first caterpillar emerged three days after the eggs were laid.

The larvae exhibited behavior typical of many skippers: the first instars cut a section of leaf and folded it over to form a nest; later instars either folded a leaf or sewed two leaves together. Four caterpillars made it through to the final instar. The first died while pupating, and I suspected low humidity was a factor, so I began misting regularly. The others pupated successfully. Two adults were released; for some reason the final butterfly emerged successfully but then died.


Face of Tailed Aguna

The eggs were deposited on June 26-27, 2015; the first adult emerged on August 15. Thus, it took 40 days or more for the Tailed Agunas to go from egg to adult.

 

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