Lepidoptera Report

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. 


20080824_0030       20080824_0031

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.



About dayuntoday

I'm a wonderer. I spend a lot of time mulling, pondering, and cogitating. This is just a place to park some of those thoughts.
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5 Responses to Lepidoptera Report

  1. Anonymous says:

    I have never seen one of those.  Very Cool!

  2. I’m glad to see that you care for these and have taught your children to as well.  All too often, some of the neatest creatures in nature are just squished because they are just a “bug”.  The variety and colors of these creatures are amazing.  We have had several luna moths this summer which were just huge. 

  3. homefire says:

    @brokenbindings2 – Do you mean that you have found the larva of a luna?  Because I have wanted to find one of those for years, but they’re so hard to find!  We did have a cecropia once and a couple of polyphemus moths, but never yet a luna.  I have actually never seen a luna moth, at all, so I have to admit I’m rather jealous!

  4. cereneone says:

    One of these landed on my patio deck a few nights ago. I was admiring it and thinking I had never seen one before. Then my little dog came up and chomped his wing…sorry! They are way cool looking though!

  5. BooksForMe says:

    That is the strangest looking caterpillar I’ve ever seen!  (The moth is spectacular, though.)

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