She Left Orphans at My Front Door!

misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)July 11, 2010

Last night a luna moth flew onto my front porch and fluttered around the light, like she was disoriented in all that light. She flew onto the screen door and laid a group of eggs right there! I'm presently raising a group of lunas, but, since she only left 29 eggs (if my count is correct) I guess I'll raise these, too - 29 is a manageable number, especially since the present group has grown fast and many are near cocooning size. This female may very well have been one that I recently released - at least I know they're mating and hopefully, laying eggs on leaves! :)

I actually watched as she laid the eggs - there is a little gizmo that comes out that positions the eggs, which I had never seen.


I'm also raising some pipevine swallowtails, a spicebush swallowtail, and my first giant swallowtail emerged today. I've got plenty of giant chrysalides left, plus some black swallowtail chrysalides, two of which are piggy-backed. I've got one red-spotted purple chrysalis, and I think I'll bring in some more red-spotted purple cats to raise.

This heat is terrible!

Sherry

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catherinet(5 IN)

Wow! That's amazing.
Miss Sherry.....you must live in the best place for butterflies and moths! I'm so envious!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 7:18PM
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runmede(7a Virginia)

No luna here. I had some last year. I gave a couple of caterpillars to a person at the park where I volunteer. She got really hooked. She even tattooed a luna moth on the top of her foot.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 11:39PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Yes, they're my favorite moth, for sure. I don't have any tattoos, but if I ever get one, it'll have to be of a pipevine swallowtail or a luna moth! :)
Here's a picture of some of the present cats - hopefully, they'll mostly be cocoons by the time the next group is big enough to need much of my time -

Sherry

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 11:47PM
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runmede(7a Virginia)

Sweet gum is one of their favorites. Also, Black Walnut here in my area. I used to be allowed to go to a local park and collect Black Walnut leaves. I've raised hundreds, but now they don't seem to be here. I guess it is the work of the paperwasp.

Last year, I found a large Polyphemus caterpillar laying on the ground under my River Birch and it was being attacked by paperwasp.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 8:30AM
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tracey_nj6(6)

Very cool! The only luna moth I'd ever seen was a few hundred miles away in upstate NY, and a few at the butterfly exhibit in the Bronx Zoo.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 3:27PM
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instar8(Z 5 N.IN)

Hey, moths are prolly better than us at picking up good vibrations...I haven't seen a luna for 20 years...well, except for those damned commercials (for which everyone calls "the butterfly pill" grrrrr).

Didn't know they like sweet gum, one of my favorite trees but not common around here...sounds like a plan.

BTW...i'd definitely consider a luna tattoo, and i hate tattoos..

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 6:19PM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

Wow, that's incredible, what a great thing to watch! I get the moths but I have never seen the cats before.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 9:17PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I do enjoy the luna cats, although they wear me out. They're in the last instar/s, so it feels like I'm bringing the leaves in by the bushel.
The first cat made its cocoon yesterday, and the others should be doing the same thing very soon.
Sherry

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 9:57PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

All the lunas from the last batch have cocooned, except one that I found underneath the foam rubber that I put on the bottom of the cage when I was cleaning out the cage - this luna cat just made a slug. I assume that because there was no room (or need) for a protective cocoon, it just bypassed that part of pupation. With all the lunas I've raised, I've never tried to take the silk off and look to see what the pupal shell looks like - that tough silk reminds me of steel wool attached to the pupa with crazy glue! So, unless this is another species that I carried in on the sweetgum - and this could be, because I bring in several inchworms with each batch of cats - I'm seeing it for the first time.
When I put the slug in the cage with all the other cocoons, it attached itself to one of them, so it's attached like a cat that goes into a "J" to pupate.Anybody else ever seen this?

I'm cleaning out the big cage today to get it ready for the egg batch from the front door - they've grown a lot in their little cage.
Sherry

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 7:31PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

There must be something about my front door :) -


Sherry

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 1:58PM
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instar8(Z 5 N.IN)

That's so artistic...you could forget they're doin the deed.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 2:05PM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

Oh my! No flashing red lights anywhere???

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 10:05PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Hehehe.....We just walked in and out of the house all day long, and they never moved - I don't think my husband and daughter even noticed them! :/
They finally uncoupled after dark, and the female left, but the last time I looked, the male was still on the door.
Gotta love those loony lunas!
Sherry

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 12:17AM
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siam_cannas(13)

OMG those moths are beautiful!!!!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 10:00AM
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tiffy_z5_6_can(5/6)

Sherry you are making me want to head out and go hunting for those beauties. I've discovered that the cats in this area like Sumac and White Birch so I may head out on the weekend looking for cats. I really appreciated your help two years ago in helping two caterpillars which some children found and brought to me.

Yep! Got to find me some!!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 8:25PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Those pics are amazing! What interesting moths. I can't believe how they are attracted to your house. It must be your Lepidoptera vibe!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 9:06PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Hehehe! Maybe so, terrene!
Tiffy, you've definitely GOT to find some of those beautiful green cats that turn into beautiful green moths!
Sherry

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 9:21PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

You'll notice in the above picture of the luna cats that they have faint red dots on their bodies. About half of the cats I'm raising now (and they're cocooning one after the other) have bright red spots. I made a picture of this one -

Since my red admiral cats are fiery red, maybe there's something about heat that makes them redder?
Sherry

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 8:17PM
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