This is our newest nature study pet. It’s a Cecropia moth caterpillar and Alex got to bring it home to research how to keep it happy and healthy (after Fiona got to gently hold it, which she found quite magical!).
It is technically a type of silk moth. They are massive moths too! They are the largest indigenous moths in North America.
Ohio Birds and Biodiversity has a great post about them, where they say:
For all of their ornate beauty, the adult Cecropia, like the other giant silkmoths, will live for but a week if that. It has no functional mouthparts and adults exist only to find a mate, and reproduce. They are little more than incredibly showy flying gonads. Once a pair has mated and the female has dropped her eggs, the moths soon wink out. It is the caterpillar stage that lasts by far the longest, and (arguably) is the most important facet of the moth’s lifecycle.
Here’s a picture of the moth stage, photographed by Tami Gingrich.
Ohio Birds and Biodiversity says:
No one, and I mean no one, would not stop for a double-take if they spotted one of these moths. If someone were to ignore one of these marvelous moths, I would feel compelled to declare them devoid of intellectual curiosity, and in a later stage of nature deficit disorder.
I agree! 🙂
I’ll keep you updated……
Update: I stuck the stick that had the cocoon in a hanging plant in our dining room and we pretty much forgot about it. On May 24th the next year, Victoria suddenly said, “Whoa, Mom, look….” and there was a massive crecopia moth just sitting on the edge of my hanging plant. We waited until it had time for its wings to fully dry before Victoria carefully took it outside. It hung out on her hand for a long time before finally flying away.
Here’s the transformed visitor…
The funny thing is, that isn’t even the first time that’s happened to us! 🙂 It happened with a beautiful species of butterfly that overwintered in our den another year. The kids found the already-formed chrysalis and brought it home and we kept it, thinking it was probably not even viable. The next summer, I opened the den to find a beautiful blue butterfly flying around.
Homeschooling can certainly be a magical life. These memories are some of my most magical!