Saturday, March 6, 2010

Nature Moment

I really enjoy people bringing me things they've found in nature to identify. Generally speaking, I don't know what they are.

Thankfully, I'm not the type of naturalist that worries because I'm not a walking nature guide. Otherwise, I'd spend A LOT of time on the defensive. I hope that after a few more years(20 or 30 or so) I'll have researched so many things that some of it will stick and I WILL be a walking nature guide. Of course, by that point my mind will start to go and I'll start back at the beginning. What a viscous circle.

A couple of weeks ago, my "local" brother asked my mother to ask me about a pod type thing he'd found on a tree. My mother brought me a sample. After seeing it, I remembered glimpsing the same sort of thing in my yard while walking the Hound Dawg in the mornings. Sure enough I went home and found the same type of casing.

I assumed it was a cocoon, (even though, I did harbor thoughts of an invasion of very small aliens) it is quite large, two inches and perhaps a bit more. After researching, I believe this to be the cocoon of a Polyphemus Moth, a large Silk Moth found in much of the US but present and active along the coast most of the year. The resulting moth can reach up to five and half inches in wingspan. For more information, Bill Oehlke has an informative page HERE.

One of the most interesting things to me in my research was that the moth has no mouth parts. They rely on the stored energy from eating during their caterpillar stage. This of course, is why I love people to bring me things. It gives me a reason to research and I always have more to learn.


  1. I've seen those before too, knew they were a cocoon but never knew which kind. Thanks for teaching me something today :)


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