I’m delighted to report that the eggs laid by the female Cecropia moth (Hyalophora cecropia) produced lots of caterpillars (I’m guessing at least 70) eleven days later.
When you look at the empty egg shells you can imagine how tiny the caterpillars were – about 1/8th inch long. Nine days later, they are 1/2 inch long and just beginning to shed their dark skin for a new yellow one that will let them grow even larger.
These caterpillars are feeding on wild cherry leaves. Others are feeding on red maple. I plan to raise four caterpillars, and would be glad to find homes for the rest. Otherwise I will put them on host trees and hope some survive to become adult moths.
Raising the caterpillars requires a steady supply of their preferred leaves for about 6 weeks. They will then enclose themselves in a cocoon that should be put outside for the winter. If you wish to see the adults, keep the cocoon in a protected cage. With luck they will emerge next June.
This collage gives some idea of the timeline for their life cycle.
Here’s a neat video of the Cecropia moth life cycle by David Britton. It’s 13 minutes long and I found it worth the watch.
Raising Cecropia moths has been an enjoyable and enlightening experience for me. If you are interested in some of the caterpillars, please contact me by the end of the week.