Over the weekend, one Monarch emerged and flew away, another one made a chrysalis, and yet another was found lying on the concrete looking lost, so we brought it in. It has been chomping down the milkweed, and now is clinging to the top the container, probably spinning the silk pad that will attach its chrysalis to the plastic.
But the most exciting thing wasn’t a monarch. Yesterday after church, one of the children tugged my arm and said, “Come here, look at this caterpillar.” (Yes, they know me. Of course, I followed. ) On a maple tree behind the church was an odd looking fellow that I didn’t recognize, so of course I had to bring it home.
My book identified it as a Pandorus Sphinx moth, which eats grapes and Virginia creeper, so the poor thing surely must have been starving on a maple tree. Maybe it got blown off its grapevine by the wind and was desperately searching for another one–who knows? The most interesting thing about it is the way it can retract its head back into the next section, making sort of a “hood” effect, as it’s doing on the right. (And notice how it’s chowing down on that grape leaf!) Evantually, it should look something like the picture below, though it may spend the winter as a pupa, which means we won’t get to see the moth until next summer.
A camouflage moth! They have up to a 4-inch wingspan, so it will be a neat one to see.