Monday, September 15, 2008
Releasing a Moth
Before all these hurricanes, my children and I watched as a vine we had planted became the meal of choice for some caterpillars. They grew and ate, grew and ate, for weeks. We discovered that one had fallen from the vine. I put it in a cup with some leaves to watch it for the next few days with the intent of placing back in the wild.
Here's an aside. Did you know how much a caterpillar poops? Lots. Each day we had to empty the cup of the peppercorn sized pellets. I will never look at peppercorns the same way again, wondering if they are some caterpillar poop, which of course they aren't, but you understand, or would if you had to empty caterpillar poop daily.
Back to the caterpillar. On the day we were to release the larva into the wild, we couldn't find it. The top was still on the container. The leaves and poop were there, too. No caterpillar. In its place was a rolled leaf, which we hoped contained the live, now metamorphing, pupa. We hung it in the turtle cage.
Two hurricanes and two weeks later, we discovered the above insect in the turtle cage. We finally got to release it into the wild. The entire family celebrated its first flight. We discovered that she was an Io moth. The males are all yellow.