|This caterpillar is about 5 weeks old.|
In the beginning of August we discovered this extremely large, magnificently alien looking caterpillar in the garden. We had never seen one before so we got to researching. What we discovered is that the garden has become home to one of the largest silk moths in North America, the cecropia silk moth caterpillar. The one pictured hatched anywhere from 4-6 weeks ago based on the size and coloring. Soon it will spin a sturdy chrysalis and begin its transformation. It will stay safe and snug in the cocoon until May or June of next year. When it emerges it will have a wing span of 5-7 inches. Adult cecropia moths do not eat at all their entire adult lives! They will mate, the female will lay eggs, and if they aren't eaten by predators, will die after two weeks.
We will be updating pictures as changes occur in the garden. The ones shown below are to show the stages we didn't get to document, they are not from our garden.
|Adult moths mating|
|first caterpillar instar|