Would you like to raise a Cecropia Moth?

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For the 4th year, I have Cecropia moth caterpillars (Hyalolphora cecropia). This is a male and female mating early this month. The male is on the left, with larger antennae (click the photo for a larger image). The female proceeded to lay many eggs, and tiny caterpillars have now emerged.

I plan to raise a few of the caterpillars – the rest are available to anyone who’s interested.

Cecropia moths mating
Male and female Cecropia moths mating. The male is on the left, and has larger antennae. Click the image for a larger version.

This is a collage of their life cycle.

Cecropia moth life cycle
Cecropia moth life cycle.

David Britton has created a fascinating video of the Cecropia moth life cycle. It condenses 7 weeks into 13 minutes. If you’re considering raising a caterpillar, the video lets you know what to expect. Otherwise, it allows you to see one more example of nature’s miracles.

To raise caterpillars, you’ll need:

  • A covered container that allows air circulation. I use a plastic box with netting.
  • A good source of food for about six weeks. Some of my caterpillars are eating Red Maple leaves (Acer rubrum), and the rest are feeding on Wild Cherry (Prunus serotina).
  • The caterpillars will eventually make cocoons that can be put outside. If you wish to see the adults emerge next May or June, keep the cocoons in a protected cage in a cold place through the winter.

If you’re interested in one or more caterpillars, please contact me. I’d also appreciate you sharing this blog with anyone else you think might be interested.

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