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Cecropia moth

Have you ever seen a Cecropia moth?  We were very excited this past summer to observe the emergence of a beautiful female moth, and were impressed with the speed with which a male discovered her, and leapt into her arms, so to speak. These moths are the largest we see in North America, and are wonderfully colorful, though regretfully short-lived, as they emerge only to mate and lay eggs, and haven’t even any working mouthparts. Our lovely lady was discovered on the underside of one of our nursery carts, by a little boy who had the right perspective, and the pupae had spent all winter and spring there, rattling around the garden. The mature caterpillar is equally impressive, 4 inches long, in green with ‘knobs’, correctly tubercles, of blue, yellow and green. I was immensely pleased to find two over-wintering cocoons this winter, which are quite difficult to detect at first, as they closely resemble dead leaves. The cocoon I show here had to be cut from the lilac bush on which it was found, and so I will be taking good care of it, in the hope that I will see the moth emerge in the early summer.