Sunday, May 20, 2012

SURPRISE!!!


 When I woke up this morning, I could see from my window that the beautiful Cecropia Moth was still there, in the bush outside my kitchen door.  So I went out to capture it, intending to return it to the river bank where I'd found its cocoon last winter.  I feared that it might not find a mate in my downtown Saratoga neighborhood.


I needn't have worried!


Turns out, I needn't have worried, either, about the adult moth finding food plants in my neighborhood, since Cecropia Moths don't even have mouth parts for feeding.  They emerge to mate and lay eggs and then die after about a week.  Their larvae, however, DO need to eat, mostly maple leaves, and we've plenty of those in downtown Saratoga.  In fact, there's a Box Elder tree, a species of maple, directly above this mating pair.  So maybe I'll have a chance to meet the subsequent generation right in my own backyard. The first instar of larvae are small and black, but later instars are huge and spectacularly colored.  I'll be on the lookout for them now.

11 comments:

threecollie said...

Sweet!

"Auntie" sezzzzzz... said...

Oh how lovely! Just lovely...

Read your newspaper piece... Wish/hope there will be information found, concerning the planting of these not-meant-for-here trees. And that it will be stopped, of course.

Gentle hugs...

“If people are good only because they fear punishment,
and hope for reward,
then we are a sorry lot indeed.”

~Albert Einstein

Citizen Nancy said...

great post and wonderful photos.

Ian said...

WOW photos, just beautiful.

Jens Zorn said...

Thanks for these extraordinary photos, once again of things that most of us would never otherwise see!

Carolyn H said...

love the photos! lucky you to have such a cooperative cecropia!

Ellen Rathbone said...

What a serendipitous happenstance! That's not something everyone gets to see. Lucky you...lucky moths.

Woodswalker said...

Thanks for all your comments, dear friends. I was indeed lucky to be able to witness this amazing creature. And what a wonder it is, that all that beauty is almost gratuitous, since the female doesn't need her colors to attract a mate, but sends out a scent that the male, with its big feathery antennae, can detect from at least a mile away. I could hardly believe my eyes when I found the two in coital embrace.

Adirondackcountrygal said...

Oh my, that is so wonderful!

Elizabeth said...

Wow!! How wonderful!

-S said...

Beautiful