Staphylus ceos life history
Golden-headed Scallopwing (Staphylus ceos) Life History

Egg, 5-9-09

Recently emerged caterpillar, 5-13-10

5-18-10; note body is deep green


Mature caterpillar, 5-24-10

Photo #6: a second caterpillar, 4-10-10

Mature face: hairs long, golden tinge

Collar: broad, flat bottom, freckles

Prepupal caterpillar, 5-26-10

Fresh chrysalis, 5-27-10

Chrysalis, 5-31-10

Fresh Golden-headed Scallopwing, 6-2-10

The first Golden-headed Scallopwing (Staphylus ceos) I raised was quite a surprise. In early April, 2010, I collected several caterpillars that I supposed to be Common Sootywings (Pholisora catullus), one from a Pigweed (Amaranthus). To my surprise, when the Amaranthus caterpillar emerged, it was a ceos! Unfortunately, since I had not looked closely enough to see differences in the larvae, I didn't get realize I had a different species and I didn't get good pictures of this caterpillar.

Meanwhile, I had found a skipper caterpillar on a sunflower leaf. After a couple of days, that caterpillar had not eaten and looked bad. I offered it the Amaranthus, and it began to thrive. This skipper also proved to be a ceos, and I did get photos of it for comparison to catullus caterpillars. Differences I could see included a wider neck collar with flat bottoms, and black spots between the halves of the collar. Also, the hairs on the face seemed longer and appeared to have a golden tinge. The caterpillar is shown in the picture labeled Photo #6; the distinguishing features can be seen in the next two photos of the study caterpillar.

During April I raised several more catullus skippers in an effort to find more ceos, to no avail.

In early May, Cat Traylor and Jan and David Dauphin were on a ranch in another part of Starr County; they reported observing Golden-headed Scallopwings oviposite on Pitseed Goosefoot, Chenopodium berlandieri. Inspired by this report, I gathered 10 skipper eggs from Goosefoot. The Dauphins graciously sent me photos of eggs of both catullus and ceos, and noted that the latter were more reddish. However, the eggs I gathered were any number of shades of reddish tan, and I could not see significant structural differences. I did notice one potential identifier in the first instar: catullus collars are usually brownish; the ceos' was black. But this may not be consistent.

From the 10 eggs, I ended up with 3 skippers. Some of the eggs never eclosed; two eggs apparently were parasitized (something emerged, but it wasn't a caterpillar); and one caterpillar died shortly after it emerged. Fortunately, one of those skippers was a Golden-headed Scallopwing, and it is featured in the photo essay to the right. The photos that were chosen were picked, in part, to highlight the variation in body color throughout the development of the caterpillar. At times it was deep green; at other times it had the mottled yellow-green coloration of a catullus caterpillar. As a result, I was not confident I had a ceos until the collar was fully developed in later instars.

The caterpillar took 14 days to pupate; the adult emerged 7 days later.

Golden-headed Scallopwing Page