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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Look at This Strange Cocoon!

Large cocoon on ninebark
For several months I've been watching this strange cocoon attached to my ninebark.  I was curious what might come from it, and a little apprehensive too, then yesterday I found a second one on a viburnum.  What if it was something that would chow down on my garden?  What if it was some dangerous?  What if it was some giant moth insect that would need Godzilla to kill? 

Well I did some looking around yesterday on the internet for a clue.  Do you know what I found? That maybe two out of the three questions I just posed to you could be true!  Which questions? The first one and believe it or not that last one!  There are some caveats of course.

Large cocoon on viburnum
In my web surfing I found that this cocoon is very similar to the cocoon of the Hyalophora cecropia.  Which is the Cecropia silkmoth! It's a giant silkmoth with wings that can be over 5 inches in size! So you see it was actually a giant moth insect, although the bit about Godzilla was pure exaggeration. I gazed a few pictures of the silkmoth caterpillar and found it to be equally impressive in its size.  The images showed a green caterpillar a little bit small than a person's hand.  I bet it could really devour quite a few leaves from my garden should it take a mind to it! 

Should that happen I'll simply move the caterpillars to the wooded areas behind our yard.  I hope to be able to see the moth that emerges!


  1. These definitely look like Cecropias! I raise them as well as several other silk-producing moths. You may want to try raising at least a couple to observe - they are magnificent little animals! A very large population could do significant defoliation damage to a tree, but they pretty much never occur in groups - partly because they are one of nature's tasty snacks.

    1. Thanks Michael for the confirmation!I've never seen them before but based on the internet pictures they do seem to match. I may have to clip them from the shrubs to watch the process!

  2. Way cool Dave! It will be a good learning experience for the kiddos too. I hope you all get to see it emerge. Maybe relocate it to a shoe box with a screen lid?

  3. It would be great to see the moth. Very nice.

  4. I thought it was a butterfly.hehe. Anyway, do you have sources that have pictures when this moth fully develops?

    David Wofford
    Just click here for attracting butterflies

  5. I will be anxious to hear the update on what does come out of the cocoon!


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