Friday, March 10, 2006

Houston, we have cocoons

Sorry about the poor quality of the photo. I can't remove the lid so as not to disturb the caterpillars.
It seems like we have hosted these little guys for ages, but it's only been a week or so. And this morning, they did what caterpillars do...they started making their chrysalises. The five break down like this: One fell off the top of the cup and made his cocoon on the floor of the cup. Two have completed their cocoons and are hanging at the top. And two are hanging and starting their cocoons.
I think I may be more excited than Isabelle and Lorelei about this.
It really is amazing how a little hairy worm can become
something that can fly.


LauraHinNJ said...

Cool, Susan. How long before they're *done*?

BTW, do you know what the food is? Won't it go moldy? And what about the little guy setting up housekeeping in the middle of it?

We sold Painted Lady cats as a master gardener fundraiser at the county fair last year - the kids loved them! We had too many that were shipped dead, so not sure that we'll be doing it again. Do you know what their usual host plants are? (I could look it up somewhere, but maybe you know?)

Susan Gets Native said...

There are more than 100 host plants for the caterpillars including thistles, hollyhock etc, and the adults like buttonbush, asters, cosmos, ironweed, joe-pye weed, privet, milkweed, etc.

The adults prefer nectar from plants 3-6 feet high. They like disturbed areas like gardens and old fields. Sounds like they can live just about anywhere.

I have no idea what the food is inside the cup. It looks like plant matter puree. When they are all in cocoons, we will move them to the mesh habitat, and the little guy laying in the food will be put on the floor of the habitat. I hope he makes it.

Susan Gets Native said...

I think they take a week or so to "cook".