Caterpillar Season III

One of my interest has been moths in general, despite the huge complexity of the area. A week gets you conversant with most of the things about all the butterflies in your American Home; but nobody really knows their nocturnal brothers and sisters. One year I was delighted with an underwing present in unusual numbers and posted it on a site when I couldn't find it's ID. It turned out to be hugely common: not worth listing or showing online.
Thus, I'm never snarky when someone shows me a silkmoth( or part of one), an obviously rare treasure blown here from China or somewhere. That an experienced hunter can find their cocoons on wintery branches any year does not mean the neighbors ever saw anything. Happily silkmoths--like most butterflies--rarely damage folage to the extent that you can find their larvae despite their impressive size. When i approach a house to ask if I can take polyphemous from a birch; the incredulous owner is only gratified that I can eliminate a fearsome pest. I suppose I could have told them that they were big spiders; but it's hardly necessary to lie.
Their emergence is a treat, with the usual remarkable tranformation from a hideousity to a gem-winged wonder. A few times I've been tempted to restrain the girls in a 1" mesh hardware cloth enclosure to see the boys arrive. Since reading Fabre's " the great peacock moth" as a boy I've wanted a room full of eager males with their beautiful feathery antennae . Alas, I doubt you could do it here(not true in other areas of N. America). We just don't have enough of 'em.

Posted by icosahedron icosahedron, May 19, 2011 18:20

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