Even though you’re growing up, you should never stop having fun.
A quick update on the Cecropia caterpillars we are raising…you may remember an earlier post where the eggs from a Cecropia Moth began hatching. That was on June 10. We are almost a month out and they are growing and changing as they feed on wild Black Cherry leaves. Below are pictures of how they have changed over the past few weeks. The remaining time period of their last two instars (a phase between two periods of molting) will be busy ones as we try to scrounge enough cherry leaves to keep these guys happy. If you enjoy learning about giant silk moth caterpillars and their different instars, check out Sam Jaffe’s incredible photographs on The Caterpillar Lab’s web site.
The hatched eggs on June 10 (click photos to enlarge)
First instar Cecropia Moth caterpillars
Second instar larvae
A third instar Cecropia Moth caterpillar
Fourth instar larva (one more to go!)
A close up of the tubercles on a fourth instar larva…I shared this picture on July 4 as an entomological fireworks display
There is beauty to be found in the changing of the Earth’s seasons, and an inner grace in honouring the cycles of life.
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 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.
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.
First instar Cecropia Moth larvae on their first day