Two-barred Flasher (Astraptes fulgerator) Partial Life History

caterpillar when found on coyotillo, 10-12-08




Ready to pupate, 11-8-08

newly formed pupa, 11-10-08

the freshly emerged Two-barred Flasher, 12-3-08


I found this caterpillar wrapped in a leaf of coyotillo (Karwinskia humboldtiana) in October. It took almost 30 days to pupate from the time I found it.

The caterpillar was kept in an empty mayonnaise jar with paper towels placed in the bottom. I placed a fresh coyotillo branch in the jar each day. At first the caterpillar rolled a leaf for a shelter, and I just left that leaf in the jar. When it was larger it started sewing two leaves together. During the last week before pupation it sowed a leaf over the towels. Perhaps it got tired of me opening the leaves for pictures, or perhaps it thought the paper towels more comfortable than dried leaves!

Many butterfly chrysalides become clear when the butterfly is ready to emerge. However, in this case there was no indication when the skipper was ready to eclose from the pupa. Even after it emerged, the empty casing retained the same blue-white colration it had when freshly formed.

An interesting paper showing that there are actually many "Two-barred Flasher" species can be found at
If you look at the paper, you will see that this Texas caterpillar is distinctly different from all of the Costa Rican caterpillars.