Monday, April 19, 2010

Cecropia moth

Hyalophora cecropia
My neighbor's kid got a Cecropia moth caterpillar at camp, and she raised it all summer in a plastic jug; they called me early this morning to tell me it had emerged. Everybody had to leave for the day, so I took it to my place. I spent all day with this dopey beauty, keeping an eye on it while it got itself organized; I wanted to be there when it decided to fly off, so I could let it out of its container when it was ready to leave, so it wouldn't bash up its wings fluttering around inside. Eventually (seven hours later) I started to lose patience and took it outside and took the lid off and encouraged it to crawl onto a stick, whereupon I lifted it out of the container, and took a million photos, and it still didn't do anything except rearrange its grip. So I propped the stick up in the container and left it alone.

Another three hours, now dark out, still there. It could be a female, I read they mostly sit around and put out pheromones, but the extra-large antennae say male, so who knows.

That fur! Those colors! I can't stand it!

 Male Cecropia moth
Update: with help from the friendly people at bugguide we got it all sorted out. It's a male (huge antennae), who wasn't acting like a typical male Cecropia moth by flying off to find a mate. I say it's a free country, and we'll all adjust.