Cecropia Moths Pupating
Our largest North American native moth, the Cecropia Moth, Hyalophora cecropia, spends the winter as a pupa inside a cleverly-crafted 3” – 4”-long shelter, or cocoon, which it creates and attaches lengthwise to a branch while still in its larval stage. The Cecropia caterpillar, with the silk glands located near its mouthparts, spins not one, but two silk cases, one inside the other. In between the two cases, it spins many loose strands of very soft silk, presumably to enhance the insulating properties of the cocoon. Inside the inner case, the caterpillar splits its skin and transforms into a pupa. Come spring, an adult moth will emerge from the pupal case and exit the cocoon through one end which was intentionally spun more loosely, allowing the moth to crawl out the somewhat flexible tip. (Note: dissected cocoon was not viable.)
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This entry was posted on November 11, 2013 by Mary Holland. It was filed under Animal Adaptations, Animal Architecture, Arthropods, Caterpillars, Insect Signs, Insects, Larvae, Lepidoptera, Metamorphosis, Moths and was tagged with Cecropia Caterpillar, Cecropia Larva, Cecropia Moth, Giant Silk Moths, Hyalophora cecropia, Saturniidae.