Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Spinning Cocoons

Today began with a visit to Tuesdays at Ten at Cranky Al's, where I brought some of my Luna moth larvae for a preschool story time centered on moths. It was so cute seeing how excited the kids were to touch such big, bright caterpillars! Here are two photos: one of two large lunas crawling on a stick and the other of my daughter and a caterpillar friend:

I've been slowly finding homes for a small percentage of the many caterpillars that have made it to the fifth instar. I also noticed today that one of my green caterpillars appeared to be blushing. At first I thought something was wrong until it occurred to me that perhaps it was preparing to spin a cocoon. Several photographs at the Actias luna wiki verified that Lunas can turn a pinkish hue just before pupating. Sure enough, just within the last hour we noticed several cocoons in our bankers-box-turned-Luna-habitat. Exciting stuff!

The wiki entry stated that unless lunas are diapausing over winter, the pupation process should take about two weeks. We'll see if, come early July, we have a new generation of adult lunas eclosing from their cocoons!


  1. That is so cool! I remember getting all excited when the black Swallowtail caterpillar that I had finally pupated; but luna moth cocoons are so much neater! :)

  2. Just the info i needed! I've been wondering more about this but hadn't had the time to look it up yet. Luckily we found a good source of tree branches that the little guys (and girls) like, so we're stocking up constantly. Hungry little things, aren't they?

    Bed news is, suddenly we have five instead of six. Must have inadvertently lost one when cleaning out their habitat (they also poop more than I could ever have imagined!). Or maybe one spun a cocoon and I was making sure all the little GREEN things got back in and didn't notice? Hmmmm. Anyway, thanks for his entry, Heather!