January 17, 2011

Automeris Io*

Thanksgiving weekend, hubby noticed that a caterpillar weaved itself a cocoon on our Miami Dolphins flag. For weeks and weeks, we'd check on the coccoon during the weekends when hubby would put the flag out to show support on game days. We brought the flag indoors when we left for Disney on December 29th, and hadn't taken it back outside.

moth1.jpg

Last week, we quickly cleaned up a bit around the house before a handful of family members came by for B's birthday. I noticed something red on the base of the flagpole, but thinking it was a piece of wrapping paper or something, I quickly sucked it up with the vacuum hose. You know where this is going, don't you? Yes, I sucked the finally-emerged moth into our vacuum. As soon as I realized what I did, I called hubby and we carefully took the moth out of the canister (thank goodness our vacuum has a clear canister instead of vacuum bags).

We took it outside in case it wanted to fly away, but it seemed the vacuum adventures wore it out because it didn't want to go anywhere. Hubby put it on his arm to make sure it was okay, and he could feel it wiggling it's legs, and even said it tried to "bite" him.

moth4.jpg

With a cold front on its way, and not knowing if it was hurt or not, we decided to keep it inside for a few days so that it could regain its strength. We kept it in a plastic container with a few leaves for food.

moth2.jpg

The next night, it started to lay eggs. At first there was one or two at a time, but as the night progressed, they numbers multiplied. By morning there were bunches of them all over the plastic container.

With the cold front gone (mostly) we finally let her go yesterday. Hubby took her out and placed her on the tree by our front door. We went out to eat lunch, and by the time we returned she was gone.

moth3.jpg

It was really a cool experience to have seen her develop from a cocoon to a beautiful moth.
Excellent science lesson for the boys, too.

*Yes, I'm that much of a nerd that I researched what kind of moth she was.

Posted by Amanda at January 17, 2011 8:16 PM | TrackBack
Comments

I don't like moths, they're creepy.

Posted by: Claudia at January 18, 2011 3:49 PM

note to self: do not be small and on Amanda's floor unless you want to die by vacuum.

glad the moth survived. neat experience for the family

Posted by: wRitErsbLock at January 18, 2011 8:42 PM
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