We had our first snowfall this past week.
I knooooooow we need the snowpack for the good of the plants (and the snowshoe hare). However, I pretty happy with no snow until now!
There is not much too see this time of year in terms of flowers. Obviously. However, no leaves on the trees means the giant silk moth cocoons are going to be visible! And if you are out in the woods this time of year, you should probably have a GIANT SILK MOTH COCOON HUNT SHOWDOWN.
We are competitive like that.
The giant silk moths of New England – so called “silk moths” because they spin a silk for their cocoons – include Antheraea polyphemus (the Polyphemus moth), Hyalophora cecropia (the Cecropia moth), Actias luna (the Luna moth), and Callosamia promethea (the Promethea moth). We find Cecropia and Promethea moths fairly regularly. Luna cocoons are notoriously difficult to find since they usually burrow under leaf litter to spin theirs, which does seem like an inherently smarter choice than hanging your plump deliciousness out there all to see, but who am I to judge!
This was one of two Cecropia cocoons we found! This one was actually quite high up, about eight feet up a little fir tree. Most times they are more at eye level…. it was completely shit luck that I happened to look up at the right time!
Promethea moth cocoons look like a dead curled leaf hanging down from a branch. Once you see a few, they it becomes easier to differentiate between dead leaf and alive pupae. Also, if you find one, look around for another! Last year there were a dozen on a forsythia bush in my yard! The moth will lay all it’s eggs in one spot; usually the caterpillars spread out as they wander and eat, but if the food is good on the tree they are on, why leave, really.
Guess who won? This girl!
Not only did I win, but I pretty much whooped Keith’s ass, 4-0!!
Man, was that backpack heavy with all those cocoons strapped to the back ;).
I’m still unsure how I’ll keep these safe over the winter. Decision TBD.