Neophasia menapia menapia

Photo Life History: Neophasia menapia menapia

Habitat:  Montane Pine Forests

Host Plants:  Pinus edulis; Pinus ponderosa

Suitable Lab Host Plants: (Most any species of Pine trees.)

How to Find Female Butterflies:  Click here.  Females perch on pine trees and can sometimes become docile.  Females can be flushed out of shorter pinyon pines (less than 20' high) by placing a butterfly net handle on the trunk and pushing abruptly.  This technique is effective even in overcast weather.

Caring for Live Female Butterflies:  Nectaring techniques.  Females of this species can die easily in the lab if stressed in any way.  Feed them daily.  In order to get them to nectar, place a pin or teasing needle through its proboscis and unravel into honey water.  Unlike other pierids in the lab, females rarely nectar of their own accord.

Methods of Female Oviposition:  Open Screen Cages.  Do not expose cages to any sunlight whatsoever.  For some reason, filtered sunlight can stress females of this species.  When females are ready to oviposit, they will lay eggs in a string on host in normal or even dim roomlight.  See Utah Lepidopterist article for more information on cues females provide prior to laying eggs in the lab.  (It can require a lot of patience.)

How to Find Eggs:

How to Hatch Eggs:  Communally.  Larvae are gregarious.  First instar larvae that do not consume their egg shell do not initiate feeding on the pine tree as easily as those that do consume their eggshell.

How to Find Caterpillars in the Field:  Mimicry and Camouflage.  Caterpillars camouflage themselves beautifully against their host plants and are very difficult to locate.  However, I have noticed that N. menapia menapia larvae can become very conspicuous if conifers are mist-sprayed with water as caterpillars bob back and forth violently to this stimulus.

How to Find Pupae in the Field:  Last instar larvae pupate on pine needles.  It is remotely possible to find a few pupae if you find late instar larvae or males drying their wings on a section of the tree. (Pupae have been found, but not reliably.)

Caterpillar setups:  Open terrariums; Open Bucket

Larva to Pupa:  

Number of Broods per Year:  1

Overwintering Stage:  Ovum. 

Overwintering Strategies: Refrigerator (Mist spray ova once a week.)

Post-Hibernation Strategies: Expose eggs to warmer temperatures and higher humidity.  Make sure first instar larvae feed on their eggshells.  Provide pine tree cuttings from trees that are NOT dormant.  This means either wait until spring to bring out ova, or provide a potted pine tree that has been indoors if you plan on feeding larvae during the winter months.

Avoiding Diapause Techniques:  

Disease Prevention:  Change out host plant and remove frass every five days or as needed. 

Emergence:  Emergence Container

Field Notes: