CASE STUDY: Saturniidae Moth Populations in Richmond, Rhode Island Part 3

This is going to be a quick entry in this case study. As of this writing on June 27, 2021, all but a few cocoons have hatched. I have a small assortment still of cecropia, polyphemus and luna. Initially I felt that this case study was a failure about after giving it some thought, I realized that I know a lot more now than I did at the start, which should help tremendously going into 2022.

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CASE STUDY: Saturniidae Moth Populations in Richmond, Rhode Island Part 2

Cocoons and pupae I was able to obtain prior to this study were Actias luna, Hyalophora cecropia, Antheraea polyphemus, Samia cynthia and Citheronia regalis. On the last two species, I did not have high hopes of drawing in males attracted to hatched gravid females, but thought that perhaps, living so close to Connecticut, that I may be pleasantly surprised.

Citheronia regalis.
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CASE STUDY: Saturniidae Moth Populations in Richmond, Rhode Island Part 1

When it comes to insects, butterflies and moths have always been my favorite type. Nothing beats a warm summer day sitting outside, watching butterflies visit your flowers. As much as I enjoy this though, it is the giant silk moths that fly at night that I am passionate about the most.

Newly hatched Callosamia promethea female.
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The Thrill of the Hunt: Finding Moth Cocoons in the Wild

For anyone that raises butterflies and moths, having your caterpillars form pupae is a huge undertaking. You spend weeks feeding these hungry mouths and though you may be doing it in protected environments, the chance of failure is still there. Stink bugs, yellow jackets, skunks and raccoons are always hungry for your babies and at times, no matter how hard you try, they still seem to find what you are working so hard to protect. There is an excitement that is unequaled when your caterpillars finally form their chrysalis or cocoon. With all of these odds against you in captivity, what chance do they have in the wild?

chrysalis

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