Lunar Moth Cocoon

We had some dead trees / limbs cut down this past weekend.  I don’t think it looks drastically different, except out the kitchen window.  There is still plenty of shade.  Maybe next year we can afford to cut some pine trees.  So, I was outside looking around when I heard a clicking sound.  I thought it was another chipmunk digging in my rock wall.  (Which, by the way, there is some type of hawk that recently inhabited our woods.  It’s keeping the chipmunks down, thank goodness.)  But, I finally discovered that it was a cocoon.  I knew that it was close to hatching if it was making that noise.  I quickly gathered it and called to Sam to get her bug jar.  The next day, it hatched into a lunar moth.  She had a hard time leaving it alone: “But it needs food and water. I want to hold it.”  Poor thing.  It had just hatched.

I lit the tiki torches and my lemongrass candle.  (I have too much shade for real lemongrass, or citronella, or scented geranium, etc to keep away mosquitos naturally.  Go figure.)  The moth eventually started climbing on my candle, so I quickly blew it out.  It hung out there for a while flapping its wings.  Later that day, I saw some type of bee eating a part of a lunar moth wing.  I hope it wasn’t our freshly hatched moth.



A Very Hungry Caterpillar

We’ve been housing our own cocoon, thanks to my dad.  He “harvests” cocoons and hands them out to his grandkids so they can enjoy the process.

One of our cocoons has been making noise for a few weeks, but had gotten sadly silent in the last few days.  I checked on them every day, knowing that the time was coming soon.  Finally, sometime last night, one of the cocoons hatched!

When we discovered the moth today, we let it go.  I told Samantha that he/she might be hungry or thirsty so we needed to give him/her some space.  It crawled around a bit on the monkey grass (but man, that thing is too huge for monkey grass!) but I finally got him on the white oak in the back.  Sam loves the “eyes” and “smile” (pink/white stripe near the “eyes”).  She brought him some water in a pot and offered to give him some grass.  He’s still there almost 2 hours later.  I figure he’ll get a little more active tonight.  In the research that I’ve done, it leads a very short life as a moth.  Interesting.

Antheraea Polyphemus

And while I’m on the topic, this dude was with us for a day or two a while back.  Samantha loved it too.  I do like having all this wildlife around.  (Even if that means losing a bouncy ball down a chipmunk hole.)

Luna Moth



The second cocoon hatched the next day!  The antennae were markedly different than the previous day’s moth, so I think we had one male and one female.  He didn’t stick around like the female did.