Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Introducing Friendly the Moth

We had a wonderful Easter surprise on the weekend! Remember our little caterpiller named Friendly?  Remember how he made himself a cocoon all the way back in September?  Well, that little cocoon sat in that jar in our window all over winter, and every time I looked at it I felt sad. It was taking an awful long time hatching (or whatever you call it) It must not have survived somehow. There must have been something wrong with the poor caterpiller.

  (Friendly circa: end of August 2014)

 (Friendly circa: beginning of September)

 I kept thinking that I needed to just throw that cocoon and dead leaves out into the compost or something since it was obviously not going to change. I thought it would happen in a few weeks, but the weeks kept going by. And the weeks turned into months. Winter came and then Spring came. And still that cocoon stared back at me in my kitchen window. It was sad.

Until I decided that this past weekend, I was just going to clean up that kitchen window (I may have a dead plant in it as well. I'm not good at keeping those alive, but in my defense, I was watering the bean plant. I don't know what happened! It was depressing for me since I was actually putting an effort out.)  I looked up at the jar and something white was staring back at me!

Our caterpiller was a moth!!!!!

I may have been more excited than the kids! I was so shocked!  I wasn't expecting it to actually emerge and change and still be alive! Hooray!!! We didn't somehow kill it!  (we suddenly remembered that moths hibernate over winter, so maybe that was why he didn't come out of the cocoon!)

We were trying to figure out the type of caterpiller it was back in August, and what it would turn into, and thought maybe an Edwards Wasp Moth. Well, I can say now that is not what it metamorphisized into. (is that even a word?)  But I can't tell you what type it is yet either.  But it is white and furry (and feels soft!) and so beautiful! It may be a Spilosoma virginica, the Virginia Tiger Moth. (which is called a Yellow Woollybear in it's caterpiller stage!)

From the underside, it actually resembles a snowy owl, to me!

 Now that it had "hatched" I was worried that it needed to eat, but I didn't know what that would be. Sugar water? So we thought the best thing for us to do would be to let it go. I took the jar outside and the moth climbed out and crawled around a bit, but didn't fly off. (It is technically still a newborn, so I guess that's to be expected; it did flutter though.)  Since it was a cool day, and moths tend to go out at night, I tucked the jar by our front door hidden behind some toys and near grass, where it would be protected and hopefully warm enough.

 When I checked the next morning, he wasn't there anymore, so I am hoping he flew off and found food and a new home.

So exciting!


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