Moth madness May 13, 2007
The warming trends in weather have brought about not only bird migration and the spring ephemerals of the plant world, but lepidoptera as well. Mourning Cloaks and Question Marks/Commas have been about for a month now. May is bringing out a whole new hatch of interesting fliers. Red Admirals were heavy hitters at Magee Marsh this weekend and the first Giant Swallowtail of the year was a real treat to come home to. But more that that, my moths are hatching!
Last summer I raised a brood of Promethea larva and nursed their cocoons through the winter. The larva are voracious eaters who kept me hopping foraging for fresh cherry leaves for their breakfast, lunch and dinners. The leaves need to be washed and shaken dry to protect the little critters from disease and predator spiders. After a few weeks of frenzy feeding, they roll themselves into a leaf and make a tight cocoon to protect them for the winter.
If they successfully make it through the winter, a beautiful miracle occurs in the spring when they come out of the cocoon as a moth. Prometheas, Callosamia promethea, are dimorphic, with the males being much less colorful than the females. This is a female in the photograph. She is luxuriating on the back porch wafting her scent far and wide in hopes of attracting some lucky male. You go girl. I will be rooting for her. If she is mated we can start this whole process over again. What do normal people do in their spare time? I guess I'll never know :)