Day 1

There is beauty to be found in the changing of the Earth’s seasons, and an inner grace in honouring the cycles of life.

~Jack Cornfield

A recent post discussed the eclosure of several Cecropia Moths that had spent the winter with us as cocoons. There was a mated pair when I found them that morning. I released all but that pair, keeping those two one more night to try to get some eggs, which the female obligingly laid on the inside of the mesh butterfly cage.

cecropia moth on leaves

Cecropia Moth adult that emerged on May 29 (click photos to enlarge)

Yesterday, the eggs started hatching. Eggs were laid on May 30 and began hatching on June 10.

cecropia moth eggs hatched

Hatched eggs

First instar larvae are gregarious feeders (I have put them on Black Cherry, one of their listed host plants). They are small (~3/8 inch), dark, and covered in black spikes. They will undergo five molts with each stage lasting about a week. So, for the next 4 or 5 weeks, we will be busy feeding some very hungry caterpillars. The changes will be amazing and I’ll be sure to share photos along the way.

Cecropia moth larvae day 1

First instar Cecropia Moth larvae on their first day


7 thoughts on “Day 1

  1. Thank you for the lovely pictures of the Cecropia Moth life cycle!  During my childhood my mother and my grandmother would both get very excited when they spotted a Cecropia.  However, I had never seen the eggs nor the larvae. The Roads End Naturalist brings us all much pleasure.  Thank you again. Nancy McCumber, Durham

  2. Lovely pictures. I have plenty of black cherry on my property if you need any. I would love to find one of those moths. I think I mentioned before that North American Butterfly Association has a project where they are trying to photograph all stages of butterflies on host plants. They post them in their magazine which is quarterly. You have some great photos and great timing to capture eggs to adult. Thanks for all the photos. What do you recommend for mesh type enclosures for butterflies? I typically raise monarchs, spicebush, and pipevine each year. I usually release the caterpillars that overwinter outside. I’ve got a bunch of plastic aquarium containers which are easy to clean but would also like some mesh containers.

  3. Beautiful pictures of the Cecropia Moth development. I especially enjoyed the egg hatch pic. I just had a Polyphemus moth emerge from its cocoon today! I’m so happy!

  4. Pingback: Growing Up | Roads End Naturalist

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