Quantitative Eco/Etho/Evo Discussions: Dr. Annette Aiello

Dr. Annette Aiello

Jun 9, 2021
4:00 pm to 5:00 pm | Remote


Hylesia umbrata (Saturniidae: Hemileucinae): A Nonconformist

The moth family Saturniidae, popularly known as “giant silk moths,” includes some of the largest moths in the world, among them many well-known species such as the Luna moth, Cecropia moth, Polyphemus moth, and the numerous species of Io moths. The Hemileucinae, one of the nine subfamilies, have medically important caterpillars whose venom-filled setae are the cause of numerous painful encounters with humans that in extreme cases can be life-threatening. Among these, adults of the genus Hylesia are known to occur in outbreaks and the species is infamous for its medical importance both as larvae and adults. The subject of this talk, Hylesia umbrata Schaus, 1911, has colorful caterpillars that occur in large aggregations and pupate communally, and though the species is found from Mexico to Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Brazil, and Peru, little is known of its life history. During the dry season of 1999 in Panama, we took the opportunity to collect and dissect a Hylesia umbrata cocoon mass and maintain the pupae under laboratory conditions to document the timing of their expected mass emergence and record any parasitoids. The surprising results of the study are presented and discussed.


Soft Math Lab


Irina Tolkova