Saturday, November 13, 2010

An Unexpected Guest

Maggie and Al went to the park today to feed the geese and found this HUGE caterpillar, catching the attention of some of the birds.  (From this point on, I will refer to him as 'he' because I will not know his sex until we can better look at his completed cocoon.)  He was on the ground, in plain view, so Mags and Al decided to save him.  They brought him home on a branch and crashed through the door, yelling, 'We need a jar!'  When I saw the size of him, we decided an empty grape juice jug might be more appropriate.  After we set him up in his new home with some branches and leaves, he immediately started scoping it out and is now secreting his silky thread to start his cocoon!  We did some research and found that he is a luna moth!  We are really excited to know we have something so special!  Here are some photos:

Greeting me and posing for his first photo ...
 See how big he is?
 His new home?  A Welch's juice jug!
 Adding some saran wrap to the top just so he doesn't try to cocoon from a ceiling fan or anything (we did poke him some air holes)...
We placed him right behind our growing amaryllis and next to our ryegrass from Forest Friends!

From what we've read, he'll either emerge in two weeks, or wait until Spring, depending on whether or not he is doing what is called 'diapausing,' which is determined by 'a mixture of genetic triggers, duration of sunlight or direct light during the day, and temperature'.  I guess in three weeks' time, we'll know how long we can expect our guest!  We also learned that he'll most likely emerge in the morning so that his wings can dry in time for his evening flight!  So cool!

2 comments:

  1. How sweet is her little chubby baby face?! ADORABLE!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! She was so little! It's fun to look back at these pictures!

      Delete