Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Night Flyers

Many an evening I've sat out on the porch and watched some really big flyers in the light of the street light up the road (yes, there are street lights in the hamlet, and even a short length of sidewalk). Today I believe I met one of the offspring of the really big ones.

This critter was clinging to the door frame of my neighbour Nancy's house. She brought it in, identified it as a cecropia caterpillar (Hyalophora cecropia) and gave me a call.

In the picture above you can see the mouth of the caterpillar and strands of silk. Cocoon spinning was just begun when the caterpillar was spotted--the door frame was not a good spot--so after I got a good look and took a few photos, Nancy released the critter onto a window frame. Same substrate, quieter location, in the hopes that it will settle there or somewhere even more suitable. What's That Bug recommends this site for an overview of the cecropia moth life cycle, and, I might add, a good photo of the adult moth.

This photo, Nancy releasing the caterpillar, shows just how big this baby is!

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