Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Imperial Moth


A couple of weeks ago my mother in law called to tell me that there was a large moth on her front door and did the kids want to come see it.  Of course!  It had started to lay eggs by the time we arrived.  Unfortunately, she was placing them right on the front door kick plate on the side the door opened.  We were pretty sure they would not be able to stay there and survive.  In general, I'd rather leave nature alone, but in this case I decided a little science observation would be a good thing.

We left her alone until she finished laying the eggs and flew away.  In the meantime a quick internet search told us that it was an imperial moth and that we were in for a pretty neat observation of a life cycle.  We cut a cup down so it was shallow and placed the eggs in it and then placed it inside our butterfly house.


We have been observing the eggs each day and noticed that one egg had become dark brown yesterday.  We were greeted by a cute little caterpillar this morning.  We've placed a few oak and maple leaves in with it and it seems to prefer oak leaves. 

We will probably find a safe place to let this little guy go after he gets a bit bigger.  The next step in this larva's life cyle will take him underground to become a pupa.  He won't emerge as a beautiful imperial moth until next spring! 

Click here to go to the butterfly website and here to see the article we read to prepare for our special guest.


Raising a Happy Child said...

Very neat to be able to observe the part from an egg to a caterpillar. Great pictures too!

KJ@letsgoflyakite said...

What an amazing opportunity. I love that your mother-in-law gave you the call as well!

Ticia said...

How cool to be able to observe that entire beginning process.

I've always found the different ways bugs go through the pupa cycle fascinating.

Lindsay said...

Very cool! You got some amazing photos!

Kat said...

Hi, just found your blog. Love it. Am now your newest follower from New Zealand. Hopefully you might find something interesting on mine Kat :-)

Sherri said...

This is beyond cool!
That is a gorgeous moth...why do moth freak me out..they really aren't that different form a butterfly??

julie said...

How fun! We missed the monarchs this year--I'd been wanting to raise some from eggs and then set them free, but I always seem to miss just the right time to go and fetch them from the milkweed plant down the street. Next year!