February 2, 2011

It's A Boy!!

Back in the first week of December Jimmy and I were putting Christmas lights on the house I found this ball looking thing stuck to a twig on our Japanese Maple.  I pulled it off and shook it and could hear something inside rattle around.  I showed it to Jimmy and he said it was a cocoon.  I'm an idiot.  Seriously?  You would think that I would know what a cocoon looks like.  Well I know what the hangy down cocoons look like but not one all attached to a twig.  Anyway I brought it inside and gently cut it open and found a pupae inside!  It wiggled a lot so I knew it wasn't dead.  We just left it sitting on our kitchen counter where it wouldn't be bothered in hopes that it would eventually emerge and we could set it free.

So yesterday Jimmy and I were standing in the kitchen talking while he was making dinner and he goes "OH MY GOSH ASHLEY!!!!!!  (him pointing where my laptop sits)Look at the cord!!!"  Our crock pot was plugged in and sitting kinda close to it so I though something was melting because I am dorky and think weird things like that.  But our pupae had emerged!!!!


It had crawled up to hang on the cord so it's wings could be pumped up and dried.  You have never seen two people so excited over a moth before, well maybe scientist who actually study them.  Jimmy called his parents and I sent my parents a text with a picture, posted it on Facebook and everything.  We celebrate life of all types.  We don't even kill spiders or snakes unless it's a black widow or copperhead, but we are still sad about it.  

Let me tell you a little bit about him.  He is a male Antheraea polyphemus moth(  
referring to Polyphemus, the Cyclops of Greek mythology).  Opodiphthera eucalypti or Emperor Gum Moth.  They are native to Australia and can be found in New Zealand (what's it doing in Oklahoma?).  They are nocturnal and are usually only seen at night.  Some countries harvest the silk cocoon to produce cloth.  They are found in every state except Arizona and Nevada; and Mexico. He has a wingspan of 6 inches.  These moths do not eat after they emerge and will only live about 1 week.  Their sole purpose is to mate and die.  You can't tell from the picture but his wings have a pinkish hue to them and there are spots of dark pink on the top sides of his wings.

Unfortunately since I brought him inside where it is warm he came out way too early.  He needed to stay in his cocoon until spring.  If I let him go he will die quickly since its like -13 degrees with 21 inches of snow!  We will keep him in the house and when he does die I plan on putting him in a shadow box because he is just too beautiful to throw away.  

When I got up this morning he was no longer on the cord and no it doesn't bother me that he is somewhere in the house.  I stepped outside with Berkley so he could go potty and I could see what -13 degrees feels like and I found him.  This is behind the blinds in our living room.  I think I will put him in a spare 10 gallon aquarium I have with a tree branch.  If I can make it to one of our trees! 


Laurie J said...

oh my! so cool :)

ella@lifeologia said...

What a cool experience this was.
A little biology class. cute ;)

Meredith said...

oh my gosh that thing it huge! so cool. someday i'll have adventures like this. someday. :)

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