A. S. (Alpheus Spring) Packard.

Guide to the study of insects, and a treatise on those injurious and beneficial to crops: for the use of colleges, farm-schools, and agriculturists online

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Online LibraryA. S. (Alpheus Spring) PackardGuide to the study of insects, and a treatise on those injurious and beneficial to crops: for the use of colleges, farm-schools, and agriculturists → online text (page 27 of 29)
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retracted and the legs are so rudimentary as to impart a glid-
ing motion to the caterpillar when it walks. Lagoa crispata
Pack, is so named from the crinkled woolly hairs on the fore
wings. It is dusky orange and slate-colored on the thorax and
low down on the sides. Previous to the last moult it is whitish
throughout and the hairs are much thinner. The larva (Fig.
218) feeds 011 the blackberry, and, according to a cor-
respondent in Maryland, it feeds on the apple. The
cocoon is long, cylindrical and dense, being formed of
the hairs of the larva, closely woven with silk. The
pupa is very thin, and after the moth escapes, the
thin skin is found sticking partially out of the co-
coon, as in Limacodes and its allies (Cochlidise) .
Fig. 218. This last group of genera is as interesting as it is
anomalous, when we consider the slug-like, footless larvae,
which are either nearly hemispherical, boat-shaped, or oblong,
with large fleshy spines, and are painted often with the gayest
colors. The pupae are very thin skinned, and the cocoons are
nearly spherical. The moths are often diminutive, the larger
forms being stout, woolly-bodied and with short, thick antennae,
pectinated two-thirds their length, while the smaller genera
with slender bodies have simple filiform antennae, and closely
resemble some of the Tortrices.

Eudea is a very stout and woolly genus ; the antennae are


three- fourths as long as the fore wings and pectinated on their
basal halt'. The fore wings are a little shorter than the body and
the hind wings reach to the tip of the broadly tufted abdomen.
Endea Monitor Pack, is cinnamon brown, with a large irregular
green patch in the middle of the fore wings. We named
this species from the striking resemblance of the larva to the
iron-clad " Monitor." It is very regularly elliptical, flattened
above, and a broad conspicuous brown spot in the middle of
the back reminds one of the "cheese-box" or turret. Long,
fleshy, bristling spines arise from each end of the larva.

Empretia stimulea Clemens (Plate 8 ; Fig. 1 ; 1 a, larva) is
our largest species of this group. The moth is rarely found by
collectors, and is of a rich, deep velvety brown, with a reddish
tinge. There is a dark streak along the basal half of the me-
dian vein, on which is situated a golden spot, while there are
two twin golden spots near the apex of the wing. It expands
an inch and a half. The larva is thick and elliptical, the body
being rounded above, but flattened beneath, and a little fuller
towards the head. There is a pair of densely spinulated tuber-
cles on each side of the segments, the snbdorsal pair on the
metathoracic ring, and a pair on the seventh abdominal ring,
being two-thirds as long as the body is wide. There are three
pairs of small, but well developed thoracic legs, while there are
none on the abdominal segments. The body is reddish, with
the upper side green between the two largest pair of spines,
centred with a broad elliptical reddish spot, edged with white,
as is the green portion along the side of the body. According
to Mr. S. I. Smith, of New Haven, from whom the specimen
figured was received, the larva feeds on the raspberry. He
states that the hairs sting, as its specific name indicates. The
cocoon is rounded, almost spherical, and is surrounded with a
loose w r eb, the whole structure being over three-fourths of an
inch in length. The moth appeared June 18th.

Phobetrum has narrow wings, and the male is very unlike the
fi'inalc, which has been raised by Mr. Trouvelot, and was con-
founded by us with the Thyridopteryx ephemerceformis of Ha-
worth. Its antennae are very broadly pectinated, and the
remarkably lonir, narrow fore wings are partly transparent.
Thyridopteryx ni<j, !<<!, is Pack, must be considered as belonging


to this genus. The cocoon of the latter species is tough, leath-
ery, brown, and nearly spherical. The larva of P. pithecium
Smith is broad, ovate, flattened, with six long, tongue-like,
fleshy lateral appendages. It feeds on the
plum, cherry and apple.

In Limacodes the fore wings are oblong,
the costa being straight, while the hind
wings scarcely reach to the tip of the ab-
Fig. 219. domen. The fore wings are often crossed

by straight lines forming a Y. L. scapha Harris (Fig. 219) is
light cinnamon brown, with a dark tan-colored triangular spot,
lined externally with silver, which is continued along the costa
to the base of the wing and terminates sharply on the apex.
The larva, as its specific name indicates, is boat-shaped, being
of the form of a castana nut, and is green, spotted above with
brown, and pale beneath, while the sides
of the body are raised, the dorsal surface
being flattened. It constructs a dense, oval,
spherical cocoon, surrounded by an outer
thin envelope. rig. 220.

Callochlora chloris H-Sch. (Fig. 220) is a pale brown moth,
allied to Euclea, and with a broad, pea-green band crossing
the fore wings.

Lithacodes (L. fasdola Boisd. Fig. 221) and Tortricodes,
strikingly resemble the genus Tortrix, from their narrow
wings, slender bodies, and filiform antennae.

The subfamily Psychinae, embraces some remarkably diver-
gent forms. The two genera, Phryganidia and Thyridop-
teryx, differing so much in the breadth of their
wings and thickness of their bodies, are, how-
ever, connected by -many intermediate forms
occurring in Europe. Psyche is a hairy-bodied
Fig. 221. moth, with broad and thin wings, the female of
which is wingless and closely resembles the larva, and inhabits
a case, which is constructed of bits of its food-plant. The
female of Psyche helix has been known to produce young from
eggs not fertilized by the male. It lives in a case of grains of
sand arranged in the form of a snail shell, thus resembling
some Phryganeids in its habits, as it does structurally.



The male of Tliyridopteryx (T. ephemerceformis Haworth),
the "basket-worm," is stout-bodied, with broadly pectinated
anteniiiu and a long abdomen ; the anal forceps and the adjoin-
ing parts being capable of unusual extension in order to reach
the oviduct of the female, which is wingless, cylindrical, and in
its general form closely resembles its larva, and
does not leave its case. On being hatched from
the eggs, which are, so far as known by us, not
extruded from its case by the parent, the young
larvre immediately build little, elongated, bas-
ket-like cones, of bits of twigs of the cedar, on
which they feed, and may then be seen walking
about, tail in the air, this tail or abdomen cov-
ered by the incipient case, and presenting a
comical sight. The case (Fig. 222) of the full
grown larva is elongated, oval, cylindrical, and
the fleshy larva transforms within it, while it
shelters the female through life. The genus
(Eceticus comprises large species, with much
the same habits, growing in tropical America
and in Australia.

A basket- worm, allied to (Eceticus, has been
discovered in Florida, by Mr. Glover, feeding upon the orange,
and we give the following account of it from the study of
his admirable drawings. With much the same habits, it be-
longs to quite a different and undescribed genus. The body
of the male resembles that of the broad winged Psyche, and
indeed, this moth may be regarded as a
connecting link between the latter genus
and CEceticus. It may be called the
Platoeceticus Gloverii (Fig. 223). Its
body is slender, with pectinated an-
tennae ; the wings very broad, irregular,
and the hind wings are broad and
much rounded, reaching a third of their length beyond the tip
of the abdomen. It is dark brown throughout, and expands
three-fourths of an inch. The wingless, cylindrical, worm-like
female (Fig. 223 b) is acutely oval in form, and whitish. The
larva (Fig. 223 c) is rather flattened and resembles that of

Fig. 222.

Fig. 223.



Thyridopteryx. It constructs an oval cocoon (Fig. 223d)
which hangs to the edge of the leaf.

The genus Perophora, another sack-bearer (P. Melsheimerii
Harris), is a gigantic Psychic!, being about the size. of the silk-
worm moth, which it closely resembles in the imago state. It
also lives in a case during the larva state, formed of two oblong
pieces of leaf, fastened together in the neatest manner by their
edges, and lined with a thick and tough layer of brownish
silk. The larva is cylindrical, as thick as a common pipe-stem
gc^a and light reddish brown in color.
The head has extensible, jointed
feelers which, when extended, are
kept in constant motion, while be-
hind is a pair of antenna-like organs,
broad and flattened at the end. The
Fig. 224. tail is widened and flattened, form-

ing a circular horny plate, which like the operculum of a whelk,
closes lip the aperture of the case. Before transforming within
its case, the larva closes each end with a circular silken lid.
The pupa is blunt at the hinder end and with a row of teeth on
each abdominal ring. Both sexes are winged. Our species,
P. Melsheimerii Harris, is reddish ash gre} r , sprinkled with
blackish points, and with a common oblique blackish line.

Notodonta and its allies (Ptilodontes Hubner) are mostly
naked in the larva state, with large humps on the back, and the
hind legs often greatly prolonged, as
in Cerura, the "fork-tail." The pupa
and moths are best described by stat-
ing that they bear a close resemblance
to the Noctuids, for which they are
often mistaken.

Coelodasys (Notodonta) unicornis
Smith derives its specific name from the horn* on the back of
the caterpillar, and its generic name from the large conical tuft
of hairs on the under side of the prothorax. The moth is light
brown, with irregular green patches on the fore wings. The
cocoon is thin and parchment-like, and the caterpillars remain
a long time in their cocoons before changing to pupae. Nerice
bidentata Walker (Fig. 224) is a closely allied moth. Edema

Fig. 225.


albifrons Smith (Fig. 225) is known by the costa being white
on the outer two-thirds. It feeds on the oak, to which it is oc-
casionally destructive. Mr. Riley (American Entomologist,
vol. i, p. 39) describes the larva as being of a "bluish white
ground-color, marked longitudinally with yellow bands and
fine black lines, with the head and a hump on the eleventh seg-
ment either of a light coral or dark flesh color." It generally
elevates the end of the body. It pupates during the last of
September, the moth appearing about the middle of April, in
the vicinity of Chicago.

Platypteryx, a small geometra-like moth, with its broad fal-
cate wings, seems a miniature Attacus. Its larva is slender,
with fourteen legs, and naked, with several little prominences
on the back, and the tail is forked like
Cerura. The pupa is enclosed in a co-
coon among leaves. P. geniculata
Walker, and Dryopteris rosea Grote,
represent this interesting group. We
also give a rude sketch, traced from
Abbot's drawings, from the advanced
sheets of the Harris Correspondence, of
an undescribed species of Dryopteris
(Fig. 226, and its larva). Doubleday Fig. 226.

states that the moth is rose-colored, with a few red dots in the
yellow portion of the hind wings.

The Chinese silk-worm, Bombyx mori Linn., has white falcate
fore wings, while the hind wings do not reach to the tip
of the abdomen, and the antennae are well pectinated. The
larva is naked, rather slender compared with those of the next
group, and cylindrical ; the second thoracic ring is humped, and
there is a long horn on the tail. It is three to three and a half
inches long. It is of an ashy or cream color, but "in almost
every batch of worms there will be seen after the first moult
has occurred, some dark colored, which, at the first glance,
appear to be a distinct species," but Captain Hutton, of India,
shows that "so far, however, are they from being a mere pass-
ing varietjr that they are actually types of the original species,
and merely require to be treated according to the established
rules of breeding in order to render them permanent and


"He attributed the enormous loss of silk- worms by mus-
cardine and other diseases, and the consequent diminution
of the crop of silk, to the combined effects of bad and scanty
food, want of sufficient light and ventilation, too high a tem-
perature, and constant interbreeding for centuries of a debili-
tated stock. He asserted that there was no such thing now in
existence as a perfectly healthy domesticated stock of silk-
worms ; and moreover, that it was useless to seek for healthy
seed, for whether in Europe, Persia, India or China, the worms
were all equally degenerated, or, if there were a difference at
all, it was in favor of the European race. He had for several
years been experimenting on Bombyx mori, with a view, if
possible, to reclaim the worms, to restore to them a healthy
constitution and to induce them to revert from their present
artificial and moribund condition to one of vigor and perma-
nent health. The occasional occurrence in a brood of one or
more dark grey or blackish-brindled worms the ' vers tigres '
or 'vers zebres' of the French contrasting strongly with
the pale sickly hue of the majority, must have been noticed by
all who have had experience in rearing silk-worms ; such occur-
rences have been always spoken of as indicating varieties aris-
ing from domestication. The author had endeavored, by a series
of experiments, to ascertain the cause of this phenomenon, his
conviction being, either that the species had at some time or
other been crossed by another of different colors, and that Na-
ture, as sooner or later she always would do, was making an
effort to separate them, or that the original color of the worm
had been dark, and an effort was being made to revert from a
sickly condition to the original healthy starting point. He ac-
cordingly picked out all the dark colored worms and reared
them separately, allowing the moths to couple only inter se, and
the same with the white worms. In the following spring the one
batch of eggs produced nearly all dark brindled worms, whilst
the other batch produced white worms, sparingly interspersed
with an occasional dark one ; these latter were removed into a
dark batch, which was also weeded of its pale worms. In the
third year the worms were still darker than before, and were
always larger and more vigorous than the pale ones, giving
larger and better stuffed cocoons. He finally succeeded in


getting an entire brood of dark worms, which he regarded as
a sign of increased health and strength in the larvae, thus
proving that the dark worms were of the original race, which > agrees with the colors of the numerous species of the genus
of which he has, with others, made known nearly twenty. The
author also considers the white cocoons as a strong sign of de-
generacy, arguing that the good quality of the silk produced,
was no proof of the general health of the insect, as the mala-
.dics affected rather the quantity produced, and the present great
fineness was due likewise to the disease." (Proceedings of the
Entomological Society of London.) The silk-worm is an an-
nual, though some species of this group yield two and three
broods in the warmer parts of India. It moults four times, but
occasionally only three times.

The cocoon of the silk-worm is white or whitish yellow and
is over an inch long and nearly half as broad ; 360 cocoons
weigh a pound and a half. In France and Italy about thirty-
six days elapse between the hatching of the larva and the for-
mation of the cocoon, it taking four days for the spinning of
the cocoon. In England and certain parts of India it requires
forty-six days for its formation.

The above remarks apply to Bombyx mori Linn., the Chinese
silk-worm, which feeds on the mulberry, originally derived from
the mountainous provinces of China. It is the largest and
strongest of the domesticated species. There are, however, as
shown by Captain Hutton, twelve species of silk-worms, most
of which have been confounded under the name of B. mori,
and which belong to the genera Bombyx of Schrank, Ocinara
of Walker, and Triloclia Moore. There are six domesticated
species of Bombyx. There is not silk enough in the cocoon
of Ocinara to make it worth cultivating (Hutton).

Captain Hutton, speaking of the larvae of B. Huttoni, re-
marks that it "is curious to observe the instinctive knowledge
which these worms appear to possess of the approach of a hail-
storm. No sooner are the peals of thunder heard, than the
whole brood seems to regard them as a warning trumpet-call,
and all are instantly in motion, seeking shelter beneath the
thicker branches, and even descending the trunk of the tree to
some little distance, but never proceeding so low down as to


lose the protecting shelter of the boughs. For rain they care
nothing, but appear to be able to distinguish between the com-
ing of a heavy shower, and the more pitiless pelting of the hail.'*
Attacus and its allies (Attaci) form the central and most
typical group of the family. They are among the largest of
insects. The genus Attacus is found in China, the East Indies
and the South Sea Islands, and in Brazil. Its immense size,
falcate wings, with the large triangular transparent spot in the
centre, readily distinguish it. A. Atlas Linn., from China,
expands from seven to nine inches. Samia is a smaller genus
and with a partially transparent lunate spot in the middle of
the wings. Samia Cynthia Linn, has been introduced from
China and is a hardy worm, quite easily raised, and the silk is

Fig. 227.

of a good quality. Mr. W. V. Andrews urges, in the American
Naturalist (vol. ii, p. 311), the cultivation of the Cynthia silk-
worm in this country, as it is double-brooded, our native spe-
cies bearing but a single crop of worms. It feeds on the ail-
anthus, and can be reared in the open air. Among many allied
forms, generally referred to the genus Attacus but which still
need revision, are the A. Mylitta (Tussah worm), from China
and India ; A. Pernyi, from Manchouria, which feeds on the
oak, and which has been raised in France, and the Japanese
A. Yama-mai, all of which produce silk, though less reared in
Europe than the Cynthia worm. The silk of the Yama-maV
moth approaches nearest that of B. mori, and as it feeds on



the oak, and can be raised in the open air, its cultivation has
gained much attention in Europe. A. Aurota Beauv. is com-
mon in Central and South America. In Brazil it could be
raised with success for home use, but is too delicate for a
northern climate.

Telea Polyphemus (PI. 6, male ; PI. 7, female) is brown, with
large transparent eye-like spots in the centre of the wings.
The thread of which the cocoon is
spun is continuous, and is readily
unwound. It is coarser than that
of the Bombyx mori, but has a rich
gloss and can be used very exten-
sively in commerce. Its larva
(Fig. 227), which feeds on the Fig. 228.

oak, is thick, fleshy, striped obliquely with white on the sides,
with angulated segments, on which are tubercles giving rise
to a few short hairs. The pupa (Fig. 228) is very thick, and
the cocoon (Fig. 229) is regularly oval cylindrical.

Mr. L. Trouvelot gives an account in the American Natural-
ist (vol. i) of this silk-worm, which is our most hardy native
worm. So successful was he in rearing them that in a single
season ' ' not less than a million could be seen feeding in the
open air upon bushes
covered with a net."
The moths leave the co-
coons late in Ma}-, ap-
pearing until the middle
of June. They then lay
their eggs, generally
singly, on the under side Fig. 229.

of the leaves. In ten or twelve days the caterpillars hatch ; the
operation usually takes place early in the day. The worm
moults five times, the first four moultings occurring at intervals
of ten days, while about twenty days elapse between the fourth
and fifth moults, this process usually occurring late in the after-
noon. It makes its cocoon late in September, and in six or
eight days after beginning its cocoon assumes the pupa state,
and in this condition passes the winter.

The genus Actias is at once known by the hind wings be-


Ing prolonged into a long tail which reaches far behind the tip
of the abdomen. Actias Luna Linn, is green and the larva
closely resembles that of Telea ; it is, however, banded ob-
liquely with yellow instead of white, and spins a cocoon that is
of much the same shape. It is not so hardy a worm as the
Polyphemus caterpillar. It lives on the walnut, hickory and
maple. In the Museum of the Peabody Academy is a closely
allied and undescribed species from the west coast of Guate-
mala, which we would call Actias Azteca. It differs from A.
Luna in its much smaller size, expanding only three and a half
inches, and in the shorter fore wings, the apex being much
rounded and with shorter veins, while the "tails" on the hind
wings are only half as long as those of A. Luna. It also dif-
fers in having the origin of the first subcostal venule much
nearer the discal spot than in A. Luna, being very near that
of the second subcostal venule. It is whitish green, with
markings not essentially differing from those of A. Luna.

Callosamia is a genus with broader wings and no transpa-
rent eye-like spots. The larva has large tubercles and is very
plump. Its characters are intermediate between those of
Samia and Platysamia. C. Promethea Drury is a smaller spe-
cies than the others. Its larva is pale bluish green, with the
head, tail and feet yellow, with eight warts 011 each ring, those
on the two first thoracic rings being the largest, much longer
than the rest and coral red. The cocoon is hung by a stout
silken cord to the stem of the leaf which is then wrapped
around it. It may be found attached to the twigs of the
wild cherry, Azalea and Cephalanthus, or button bush, in
winter after the leaves have fallen.

Our most common species of this group is the Cecropia moth,
belonging to the genus Platysamia, which has a broader
head and wings than the foregoing genera. The caterpillar of
P. Cecropia Linn, is longer, with long spinulated tubercles,
especially marked on the thoracic rings ; the large, very dense
cocoon is open at one end and thus the silk cannot be un-
wound so well as that of the Polyphemus worm, but it is still
useful, and Platysamia Euryale Boisduval is cultivated in Cali-
fornia for its silk, though the cultivation of the Chinese silk-
worm (B. mori) is carried on there very largely.


The next group, the Ceratocampadae of Harris, is composed
of large moths, in which the hind wings scarcely extend beyond
the tip of the abdomen, and the wings are often ocellate.d.
The larva? are longer than in the Attaci and more hairy.

Kncronia Maid Drnry has a narrow, lunate, curved white
line in the centre of each wing ; it expands from two and a
half to three inches, and is black with a common, broad, yel-
lowish white band. The caterpillar is elongated, with six
long branched prickles on each ring. It feeds on the oak.

UfllH'i'i'hfriii varia Walker (Saturnia lo of Harris) is a little
hirger than the preceding. The male is yellow and the female
reddish brown, with a faint eye-like spot on the fore
wing, and on the hind wings a large round blue
spot, margined with black and pupilled with white.
The caterpillar is green, with spreading tufts of
spines, very sharp, stinging severely when the insect Fig> 230 '
is handled, and arising from a tubercle, of which there are six
on each ring ; the fascicles on the side are as represented in
Fig. 230. The pupa is thick, pointed at the tip of the abdo-
men, and the cocoon is thin, being made under leaves on the
ground. It feeds on the corn and cotton, to which it is very
harmful southwards, and also on the maple, elm, etc.

Citheronia regalis Hubner expands from five to six inches,
and its lore wings are olive colored, spotted with yellow and
veined with broad red lines, while the hind wings are orange
red, spotted with olive, green and yellow. The caterpillar is
spiny, having four large acute spinulated
,g^, V spines on the anterior thoracic segments. It

C3 : feeds on the walnut, hickory and the persim-

mon tree, and spins no cocoon. A second spe-
cies, C. Mexicana Grote and Robinson, has
been described, as its name indicates, from Mexico : it is
more orange and less red, with duller yellow patches. Fig.
231 is a rude sketch (from the Harris Correspondence) of the

Online LibraryA. S. (Alpheus Spring) PackardGuide to the study of insects, and a treatise on those injurious and beneficial to crops: for the use of colleges, farm-schools, and agriculturists → online text (page 27 of 29)