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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Cecropia Moths
July 11, 2013

About one month age this moth appeared about noon time on the rail of the steps going into the house.

As you can see the wings are very soft and floppy, as she had just emerged from her cocoon.

This papery structure is under the horizontal part 
of the railing.
It is about 3 inches or 8 cm long.
It had been there since the previous fall.
We didn't know what it was, but hadn't disturbed it, as it wasn't disturbing us!

Here you can see how floppy the wings are and 
also the furry feathers on the wings.
My husband found this moth on the internet.
It explained that they have no mouth or digestive parts, that they live for only one to two weeks, 
to mate and lay eggs.
The females have less wide antennae hairs, and the patterns on the male differ somewhat from the female.

This is about one hour later - she can hold her wings out now, although they are still a little floppy.
You can put the female in a suitable box, and she will send out pheromones up to one mile away.

The males will come....

....which they did that evening.  
Two males showed up and then 
a third in the early morning.
This is a male - you can notice the wider antennae hairs - to pick up those pheromones!  
The body is a little shorter than the female's body....

....and the colouring is a little different.

We kept the moths in the box for a few days, 

out of sunlight so they wouldn't dehydrate.
More moths came - they give the appearance of bats 
as they fly around the house.

This is the female....back view 

....and side view.

The female appeared to mate the first night, but they were not together for very long.  

The males did not fight, nor were they anxious to mate.
Everything was fairly quiet.

About a week later she mated again for about 24 hours - this is the normal length of time.

After that point, she laid her eggs during the night 

for about three nights.
She did a lot of fluttering which wore out her wings 
to half or less their original sides.
The eggs hatched out about 10 days later, 
into small black furry caterpillars.
We are now feeding them apple tree leaves, 
watching them grow.

You can find more information and videos of these moths and their growth and development at
Google: vimeo cecropia pupae.

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