Saturday, August 29, 2009

Tale of the Giant Green Caterpillar (Part II)

But come sunrise, this is what I found:

Eh. Houston, we have a problem.
Problem A: Mom wants her pyrex container back. Did some research. Polyphemus moths take on average six weeks to emerge. Did you hear that mom? SIX WEEKS. Solution: Shall I buy you a new one?

Problem B: We're going to Africa. For a month. Um. Megan!! I know you just adore caterpillars. And lovely, beautiful moths!!! Right?


I have a feeling that if we left our wee little polyphemus with Megan that it will have mysteriously been fed to the chickens upon our return. Solution: pawn our little guy off on my parents. Thank you padres! (In advance.)

For those of you not familiar with the polyphemus silkmoth (I wasn't, until about 5 minutes ago), here is the cliffnotes version:

Polyphemus moths are native to North America. They are named after Polyphmus, the cannibalistic one-eyed son of Posidon and Thoosa, because the spots on the wings are said to resemble eyes. Not because they're cannibals.

Their wings can be six inches in length. Yah. They're big. Moths (and butterflies) go through caterpillar stages, called instars. I highly recommend that you jaunt over to this website for a pictorial display of the instars (and the adult moths). And this is a fabulous montage of a polyphemus moth emerging from its cocoon and pumping its wings full of fluid. I've seen this process a hundred times and it never fails to impress. Want to see it live? Head on over to the Pacific Science Center.

So now you are up to date on the caterpillar drama happening at La Casa de J, soon to be transferring over to the Casa de Karin and Tom. Heh. Perhaps I'd better call my parents with the news, rather than having them read it on zee blog.

But, when you do get around to reading the blog, padres, here is a really fantastic tutorial on the care and rearing of your newest charge...