A free-living adult female Rothschildia lebeau (Saturniidae) in copula with a male
June 1, 2010
A free-living adult female Rothschildia lebeau (Saturniidae) in copula with a male, who is just visible below and behind her. She is about 15 centimeters in length from wing tip to wing tip. Her large abdomen contains about 400 eggs, which she will lay in the next five days and will hatch in about six days. This is one of the focal species in a research project being conducted at a tropical microbial observatory. The project "Collaborative Research on Microbial Diversity in Caterpillars," explores the microbial diversity and ecosystem found in the guts of caterpillars who feed on Spondias mombin (Anacardiaceae), the project's focal tree. The target location for the project is Conservacion Guanacaste in northwestern Costa Rica, where a National Science Foundation-supported inventory is being taken of caterpillars. The complete inventory is available on-line at http://janzen.sas.upenn.edu.