|The summer 2014 Polyphemus Caterpillar - photo by Shara LeValley|
The caterpillar went into a cocoon after less than twenty-four hours. It remained in that cocoon for the next 234 days! Last night when we came home from work we realized that it had finally emerged. The moth that emerged was another female - this one was in such a hurry that she actually laid a few eggs inside the enclosure. Without breeding these eggs will never hatch.
After dinner we took her down the street to a local park for release.
|Polyphemus Moth in hand|
|Female Polyphemus Moth - the false eye spots are probably used to deter predators|
We each snapped a few photographs and then placed her up in a willow tree. With luck she will attract a mate and produce a new generation this summer.
Upon returning home we took a closer look at the cocoon that she emerged from. Its hard to believe that that moth with a swollen abdomen the width of one of my fingers crawled out of a hole a lillt larger than the diameter of a pencil, but she did.
|The cocoon was attached between a leaf and the side of a mush container. You can see some of the eggs that she deposited before release.|
|The hole in the end of the cocoon from which the moth emerged|