Tiger Moth pupa in a basket
Some moths (notably members of the Arctiidae family) pupate in a woven basket of the caterpillar’s body hairs rather than silk.
The cocoon made by the caterpillar is quite remarkable. It is an open square mesh cage, constructed out of larval hairs held together with silk. The hairs are too short to construct the cage directly, so the caterpillar attaches pairs of hairs to each other end to end, and uses these pairs to make the sides of the cage. The pupa is suspended in the middle of the cage, equidistant from the sides. The caterpillar even manages to push its final larval skin outside the mesh cage while forming its pupa. When the moth emerges, it appears to exit the cage without damaging it.
Pu’er, Yunnan, China
Click the image to see more Chinese butterflies, moths and skippers and their caterpillars on my Flickr site…..