Monday, September 9, 2013

Giant Silkworm Moths

Back on August 11th, I went to a program on Michigan salamanders at Nature Discovery in Williamston, Michigan.  I talked about that program here.  Part of the reason that I went to that program was to pick up a hatchling Black Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta), but I also brought home five Cecropia Moth (Hyalophora cecropia) caterpillars.

Cecropia Moth (Hyalophora cecropia) caterpillar

One month later, three of those five caterpillars have successfully woven cocoons and pupated inside - unfortunately the other two caterpillars did not successfully metamorphose.  The pupae will overwinter in the cocoons.  If everything goes as planned three adult Cecropia Moths should emerge sometime between late May and July.

Cecropia cocoon #1

Cecropia cocoon #2

Cecropia cocoon #3

In addition to the Cecropia caterpillars, Nature Discovery also had Luna (Actias luna) and Polyphemus (Antheraea polyphemus) caterpillars on hand in August.  I did not bring home samples of either of those species.

Yesterday morning, we went to Forest Hill Nature Area to look for Monarch Butterfly caterpillars.  After an hour of looking, we found zero Monarchs.  Our total of Monarch caterpillars found this year stands at exactly three.  Even though we struck out on Monarch caterpillars, Shara found something even more interesting.

A Polyphemus Moth caterpillar!  The Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus) is our second largest moth in Michigan.  When Shara found it, the caterpillar was feeding on the leaves of a small willow tree.  The caterpillar went home with us.  Hopefully it will soon pupate and we will see it as an adult late next spring.

Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus) caterpillar

Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus) caterpillar

Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus) caterpillar

No comments:

Post a Comment