Rhodinia fugax (Rhodinia fugax)
Phylum — arthropoda
Class — insecta
Order — lepidoptera
Family — saturniidae
Genus – rhodinia
The caterpillars are ‘apple green’ with colorful blue tubercles covering their bodies. They have a small horn in the thorax.
Wingspan: 80-130 mm – females bigger than males. Males are variable and are darker than the female: they range from nearly black to dark orange, bright orange to brown and yellow. Females are not nearly as variable as the males and are always yellow, although the thickness and color intensity of their submarginal band can differ a lot. All wings have large translucent eyespots. Adults have quite hairy bodies and legs to aid their thermoregulation during the chilly autumn days.
Rhodinia fugax is found in the Russian Far East, Japan, China and Korea.
Rhodinia fugax is active at night. In autumn the adults can blend in quite well with the environment due to their yellow and orange autumn-leaf like colors.
The butterflies come out of their cocoons in the fall, in October or November, when the night temperature is already low. Eggs usually overwinter.
When touched, the caterpillars can squeak loudly to discourage potential predators from attacking them. By quickly contracting their bodies, they can force air through their spiracula. This makes a squeaking sound that sounds slightly similar to a rubber duck or perhaps a mouse.
Caterpillars can feed on a wide variety of food plants, but some of their favorites seem to be Konara (Quercus serrata), Zelkova, cork tree (Phellodendron amurense), and cherries (Prunus sp.). However, they are recorded on many types of Rosaceae such as fruit trees (cherries, plum, apple) but also hawthorn (Crataegus sp.). Willow (Salix), Platanus, Sweetgum (Liquidambar) and many more types of deciduous trees and shrubs.
Adult butterflies of Rhodinia fugax do not feed and live off the stocks accumulated during the larval period.
For their reproduction you need a terrarium with a size of 70 x 70 x 90 cm. Eggs are usually laid on twigs of the food plant or on the surface of the empty cocoon the female hatched from. Eggs are of marble color and oval. Eggs need wintering at a temperature of about 0 °C and a humidity of 50-70% in the refrigerator or in the basement. In the spring, when the leaves appear on the trees, the eggs should be placed in heat, after which they will hatch within 1-2 weeks. If the newborn caterpillars do not begin to feed, they should be brought for 1-2 days to a dark place. The caterpillars should be kept in mesh terrariums for 6-8 insects. In the terrarium, you need to place a branch of a forage plant. Forage plants should be replaced every 3-4 days. The insects should be kept at room temperature and humidity of 60-70%. The caterpillar develops for 7-12 weeks and then pupates in a cocoon. Interestingly the cocoon of Rhodinia fugax has green silk. The cocoons are shaped like a purse and have a small slit on the top that can split open which functions as an escape hole for the emerging moth. The pupa is brown. Butterflies hatch at night. The butterfly's lifespan is 5-7 days.
The mesh terrarium with a size of 50 × 50 × 70 mm is suitable for keeping butterflies. Room temperature is necessary.