Cecropia has just emerged this evening!

samhain10(5a - MI)June 30, 2014

Need immediate instructions: there's a thunderstorm in progress and this guy hasn't fully finished strengthening his wings - do I keep him in the cage overnight and wait till tomorrow when it's not raining to set the opened cage on the covered porch?

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runmede(7a Virginia)

I would. A heavy storm could do a lot of damage to his wings.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 11:02PM
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samhain10(5a - MI)

Runmede - thanks! That's what I needed to hear. It's stopped raining for the moment, but it's still thundering and I'm pretty sure a fresh wave of rain is on the way. Should I wait till tomorrow night to let him out or will just setting the opened cage outside tomorrow morning after the rain be good enough?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 11:06PM
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runmede(7a Virginia)

They fly at night so releasing during the day may leave him open to predation. Wait as late as you can tomorrow night to release. I have a cat bird that cleans up any moths that don't take off at night.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 11:51PM
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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

From your picture, I cannot tell if you have a male or female. If it is a male, do what runmede said. If it is a female, she probably won't go anywhere until she mates or she gives up on a mate. You need to put her in a spot where predators are not likely to spot her and her mate. You may do this during daylight hours.

A shed or an enclosed porch where you can leave the door open works well for females. The next morning, you might find multiple suitors still hanging out.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 9:55AM
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samhain10(5a - MI)

OK - I've moved her (I think it's a her) out onto the upstairs balcony. She's still in the cage, but the netting is removed and the open front is wedged against the wooden balustrade (if that's what you call that little fencing on a balcony). The bars are far apart enough for a moth to crawl through, but not much else. I don't think a bird would try to get through. Right now she's chilling, just opening and closing her wings. I'll be watching at dusk to see if anyone shows up - woohoo! Forgot to mention: when I was wedging the cage and jerking it around a bit, she shot 2 streams of pee at me! Heavy streams that went a 2 ft distance. Lucky it missed my shoes. :)

Male or female - you guys tell me.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 2:34PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Beautiful!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 4:11PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

He looks like a male to me, what with that big comb, but I'll let others make the final sex ID. :)

Congratulations!

Sherry

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 5:34PM
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BERGER123(4b-5a)

Hi
I thinks it's a female cause of the size of her abdomen.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 5:44PM
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samhain10(5a - MI)

Thank you, thank you, one and all! This has been a first for me :) He or she is still up there as of 6 PM. It's overcast, but won't be truly dark for a few hours at least. We'll see what happens then...

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 6:01PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Now that I look at all the pictures, I think she probably is a female. If so, she won't want to go anywhere tonight. You can leave a door open for any males that want to come calling tonight or tomorrow night! :)

Sherry

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 6:28PM
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samhain10(5a - MI)

Female it is! Or at least she's acting like one, staying put in the same place, as of around 11:30 PM. She's in a good position for scent to carry far and wide. Will see what the morning brings...

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 11:51PM
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samhain10(5a - MI)

...and she has a boyfriend!!! Woke up at 5:30 AM and decided to see if anyone had answered her call, and there he was in the cage with her. Pretty sure they are still joined. I can't turn the cage around to get a pic, though, for fear of disturbing them. Maybe when it's full light outside, if he's still there with her, I can set the ladder up underneath and get a pic through the bars of the balcony. Will she fly off to lay her eggs, or did I read on one of these forums that she may lay some right on the spot?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 5:36AM
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samhain10(5a - MI)

O - K...I have just climbed 11 ft into the air on a rather rickety ladder before sunup to get this pic of the two. Why have I done this? Because I'm crazy, that's why! My husband can jump my case about it later when he gets home. :) I just wanted to document this event for the future - I don't know how long the boyfriend is going to stick around.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 6:36AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

That is truly miraculous. That she knows to wait there for a mate, and that he knows how to find her and what to do when he has. Thank-you so much for sharing the excitement with all of us. I hope you get some eggs to raise and can repeat the process. Those are incredibly beautiful moths.

Martha

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 6:45AM
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runmede(7a Virginia)

If you want to collect a few eggs and then let her go, prevent them from leaving. After they have disconnected, take her and place in a large paper bag in the dark. Just keep her one night, then release her. She will lay on the bag and it is easy to clip off the eggs and then hatch them or share with other people.

A friend has local Cecropia eggs and will share some. I can't wait. I have never raised them.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 8:09AM
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samhain10(5a - MI)

Martha - it is pretty cool. I confess - I never really believed it could still be alive after the winter we just went through, and that I'd get to see her and a visiting male feels pretty special to me.

Runmede - geez, what would I feed them? The boxelder the female was under? How would I house them? I haven't a clue about any of that stuff.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 8:24AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Congrats, congrats!

It's amazing how they can release a scent/pheromone that males can smell or sense, however they know it's there.

Sherry

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 8:33AM
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runmede(7a Virginia)

It is a big challenge to rear any butterfly or moth. It is up to you. I have provided a link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Raising Cecropia

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 8:48AM
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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

They will disengage when it becomes dark. You can hasten this by putting the cage in a dark room or covering it with a thick blanket.

As runmede wrote, you can collect eggs by placing her in a big paper bag. Keep tabs on the egg laying progress so you get only as many eggs as you want. Otherwise, you can turn into one of these people who is overwhelmed by 300 caterpillars.

I rear most of my cecropias on boxelder.

There are lots of websites that give you instructions on raising moths, the FAQ here included.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 8:50AM
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samhain10(5a - MI)

Here's a better pic of them joined.
Thanks for the info, guys, though I feel somewhat daunted by the notion of trying to keep cats alive. I'll check out the link you posted, runmede, and see if I think I can do it.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 10:10AM
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BERGER123(4b-5a)

I wish my cocoons hatched l love cercropias. Wish I could raise them!
Jacob

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 12:25PM
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samhain10(5a - MI)

After at least 15 hours and possibly closer to 20, they have separated. It's dark and I'm not going to set up the ladder to see more clearly, but she is in basically the same spot she's been in all along, though I can see her visibly vibrating, and he has moved to the edge of the cage as if preparing for takeoff.

I've decided to leave the question of raising cats up to the female. Earlier this evening, I inserted a branch of boxelder into the cage beside them, the end of which is wrapped in wet toweling to keep it fresh as long as possible. If she chooses to deposit eggs on it before she leaves, I'll keep some of them and raise them. If it's too many eggs, I can suspend the branch in one of the boxelder trees and just keep a portion of the eggs. If she takes off without laying eggs, so be it! I've got so many other duties right now, it might be just as well. This has been interesting.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 10:29PM
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samhain10(5a - MI)

No eggs, but I can't say that I'm entirely disappointed. Thus endeth the Lesson - Moth Raising 101.
But I'll be on the alert now. I know what the eggs are supposed to look like, and the caterpillars at different stages, as well as first hand experience with the cocoons. Maybe I'll get to do this another year. :)
Thanks all you moth enthusiastics for your help and support - it's been fun.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 8:51AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Thanks for sharing your journey. Those moths are incredible creatures, and I might not have ever seen one without this thread.

Martha

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 11:13AM
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woollybear69(9b Fla.)

Six beautiful moth photos.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2014 at 7:44AM
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