Saturday, July 23, 2011

Nature in Action

Normally I do not willingly accept insects into our home, but when a friend offered us some luna moth cocoons a few weeks ago I actually got kind of excited about it.  Her family had purchased some from a company, overwintered them, hatched them, then raised the new eggs from caterpillars to cocoons again.  It was at this point that she offered five of them for us to adopt. 

Luckily they are pretty low maintenance as cocoons and our only expense was buying this mesh laundry hamper to keep the cocoons in and to allow room for them to fly a little after they hatched.

We set their little habitat up in the corner of our dining room, so we could keep a close eye on them.  We'd hear an occasional little rustle here and there, but  for the most part they were pretty boring at first.  After a couple of weeks we noticed them wiggling and squirming more and more, but still no moths.  Finally one day last week we returned from an outing to find that two of them had hatched while we were out.    Although we were initially a little disappointed to miss the hatching process in action, the kids were still quite excited by the beautiful moths.  At this point the kids couldn't keep their eyes off of the hamper, so it was with great excitement that a few days later they noticed another one of the cocoons going crazy.  We brought it into the backyard, set up the camera and started watching....

We were in complete awe as we watched the final step in this luna moth's metamorphosis take place.   

Over the next several minutes we sat enraptured watching it slowly unfurl its wings.  

The kids and Adam in particular, were completely fascinated with the whole process and with their gorgeous wings.  It was a very awe-inspiring experience for us and through it all we couldn't help but marvel at the beauty and wonder of God's creations.

We only intended to keep the moths a day or two after they hatched before setting them free, so imagine our surprise when a mere twelve hours after they hatched we were greeted by this sight. 

After answering a lot of mating questions in the most scientific way possible we patiently awaited for them to part ways before letting them fly away into the wild blue yonder. 
We waited with camera poised for more than an hour to capture the moment they flew away, but alas that moment never came before darkness arrived. 

(These are the eggs that the female moth laid after its little tryst with her brother moth)

Although I still hold a deep and abiding hatred for the little pantry moths that won't seem to ever completely leave our kitchen, we were thrilled to be able to enjoy this little glimpse of nature in action and look forward to a new generation of caterpillars and moths in a month or two.  :)

Thanks Lillian! 

1 comment:

mom said...

Interesting you should blog about moths today. It looks like your friend found a fun activity to share, and that your kids loved it. How big are the moths?

We had our own experience with a moth today. I was pruning some trees today and saw what looked like a large dried odd colored leaf on one branch. As I looked closer, it started to move. It was the biggest moth I have ever seen. Unfortunately, it couldn't fly as one wing was injured, but could still walk. TEC can tell you the rest of the story.

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