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Guess what I am?

Posted by bananasinohio 6 (My Page) on
Mon, May 24, 10 at 8:19

I was out for a walk and found this little guy hanging off the stem of a bush. It looks like a cecropia but it is so small. Not that I haven't had tiny cecropia before. The polyphemus and Luna's I have raised usually have leaves and debris in their cocoons. Maybe a tulip tree moth? Small cecropia? What is your guess? Hopefully, it will eclose and let us know!
-Elisabeth

silkmoth


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Guess what I am?

Hi Elisabeth,
You don't say what the habitat was (and so some idea of what the plant denizens of the area are), so Ill have to trust my instinct that its a Promethea. But then as out of tune as I am now days, I could be past left field in the back row of the bleachers hanging by a peduncle (cocoon peduncle that is). LOL
Larry


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RE: Guess what I am?

You just keep hanging by that peduncle, Larry!
I can't see how it could be anything but a promethea, Elisabeth - I've never seen a peduncle (I was going to call it a "hangy thing" before reading Larry's post) like that on any other moth. There are still two of them on the sassafras in my garden - empty.
Sherry


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RE: Guess what I am?

See Larry, that is why we need you, to keep us in line! It was in the woods, mixed hardwoods, tulip trees, some oaks, maples. So, prime silkmoth food! Yes, the polyphemus have peduncles like that too but wrap themselves in leaves. I think the promethea is a good guess. I can't wait to see!
Thanks,
Elisabeth


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RE: Guess what I am?

Maybe it's a hybrid.We could call it "Promopia."


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RE: Guess what I am?

It's a full time job just keeping myself in line now days Elisabeth. Hanging by a thread is my MOA now days Sherry. ;)

Most of the Saturniinae spin their cocoons in a leaf nest that eventually falls to the grounds leaf litter unless a twig was also incorporated into the cocoon or the larva did spin at least a rudimentary peduncle. But a few species almost always use a distinct peduncle from a twig or branch and their cocoon remains in the plant until eclosion. Any from this subfamily can have or not have plant inclusions though.

It's been years since I reared any of them, so my gut feeling from this picture is probably more because of the small size, elongation of the cocoon body itself, its color and 40 years experience. It just has Callosamia or Samia written all over it to me, and the color says C. promethea even though the color of silk is speculation since it is determined by what plant the larva fed on. I could be entirely wrong on the species, but I'd be surprised if its not a Callosamia species.

"Promopia". The two species are not in the same genus or tribe, so natural hybridation of them is nada.

Hope its still a viable pupa Elizabeth so you will eventually know. I'd probably put it back in the cocoon as the imago will need the resistence of it to escape the pupal sheath.

Larry


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RE: Guess what I am?

That is interesting Larry. I hadn't considered that the silk color might be different. Of course this would have been studied quite a lot in silk moths for production. I will have to look that up.

I know that I have had Cecropia emerge fine without their silk covers. I will put this one back. However, to be honest, I don't remember which way it went. Sometimes, I am not the best observer scientist :).

Sending energy your way,
Elisabeth


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Moth

By the way KC is just teasing me. He has raised a ton of these himself...Promopia sounds like a new drug to grow hair! Maybe golden silk like hair?
-Elisabeth


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RE: Guess what I am?

Larry!!!!! SO GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN!!!! We have sorely missed your presence on the forums here. I don't know if you are aware of our discussions about how much we missed you, but we have, we have!!!!

Sorry to "shout", but I just had to give you a big welcome back shout out, so hope I didn't offend anyone. Not everyone gets a welcome back shout out here, but you certainly deserve one because of your wisdom and love of lepidoptera.

I don't think I am going to see any silks any time soon. They seem to be prolific here this year, but I have yet to find anything on my "host" plants and I have searched and searched and searched. I don't think my urban environment is very inviting to them......wah!

Congrats, Elisabeth, and hope you have a viable cocoon there.

Susan


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RE: Guess what I am?

Elizabeth,
They orient themselves head to the peduncle and dorsal up. If viable it will even right itself if you put it back in wrong. If nothing else the cocoon will help absorb the cocoonese the pupa releases to disolve the sericin. I suspected ceropia was just making a funny, but I still replied so noobs wouldn't think the two species would hybridize.

Hi Susan,
Long time, and thanks for the shout. Will stop in now and then, but probably will only post ocassionally. Since Saturniidae was one of my specialties I just had to reply to this one. FWIW, if your "urban" habitat has any wet areas nearby they would be a good place to look for Saturniinae. Parks, small wild fields or drainages that get water at least part of the year and so support host plants. When I lived in the frozen north in an uban setting, a scant block away a small ditch between a road and small pasture that was wet enough to supported a growth of Salix exigua was enough for colonies of H. cecropia and Hemileuca nevadensis to have established themselves there. Anyway, just a thought.

Larry


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RE: Guess what I am?

Thanks Larry; She (I decided to call her a she. Hopeful thinking)is back snug as bug in her cocoon. I will keep you posted. Off to research sericin. I am such a geek!
-Elisabeth


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RE: Guess what I am?

Don't feel bad Elizabeth, I was thinking ahead trying to remember how to spell cocoonese and sericin and typed that cocoonese is secreted by the pupa instead of the imago that I should have typed. Brain, memory and fingers have a hard time working together now days.

Cocoonese is an enzyme... sericin is the glue if you will that cements the silk strands of the cocoon together. The imago needs the help because the cocoon does not have a valve for it to escape through (it literally has to tear its way out).

BTW, while you had the pupa out you could have easily sexed it. Easiest is to just look at the antenna case. Another is by the center ventral area of the fourth segment down from the wing cases on the abdomen... if it has two bumps its a male, if its plain and smooth a female.

Larry


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RE: Guess what I am?

Again, great information! I think last year I wrote that as a citizen scientist, sometimes it is hard to know where to look. Even just a word like sericin can help take me in a direction of study, I wouldn't have thought of. It looks like there is all kinds of research on the compound, as it has UV protective, anti-bacterial, anti-cancer, and moisturizing abilities. Those Japanese take all kinds of weird compounds for that purpose. It also explains silk making. I guess sericin is the sticky component of silk fibers that glues together the tough fibroin filaments. A silk fiber is essentially fibroin coated with sericin. So, the moth has to dissolve the sericin to escape and excretes cocoonase or sericinase (depending on the reference). I wonder where it excretes it from? I know we experimented with boiling cocoons (after the moth had vacated!) to release the fibers. I didn't know the actual chemical process.

BTW, I think it is a female, after examining her again.

Cheers,
Elisabeth


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RE: Guess what I am?

How interesting! I've heard of cocoonese, but never sericin.
The Japanese are smart to use nature's miraculous stuff - some could be very valuable stuff for us humans.
I assume you want eggs, Elisabeth, since you want a female. I've raised these, and they're much easier - and quicker - to raise than the bigger silk moths. A female hung out in the daytime on my porch earlier this year -
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Sherry


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RE: Guess what I am?

Nice! We had some prometheas last year at the arb but I never know what will happen in following years. If we get couples or not.
-Elisabeth


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RE: Guess what I am?

Hi, Larry. Thanks for the info. I do live less than a mile, probably about half a mile, from a very large drainage ditch off the Interstate, with lots of vegetation, including trees (don't know what kind). I have a Black Willow, and just about 100 yards away is a Weeping Willow. They also use Elderberries, and I have a nice stand in the backyard. I let my backyard go as habitat for the butterflies and moths. I get a variety of sphinx moths on my host plants, and have hand raised about 10 different species just found here. Lots of Elm, Hackberry, Maple, Virginia Creeper, and obviously, weeds!! But the critters love it.

Doubt I will look by the big drainage ditch, though. Kinda scary looking and I can't see me traipsing thru it looking for Cecropias or other silks. I need to write a paper on what moths I have raised, focusing on an urban garden environment because I see little about it even on the net but not sure much interest would be garnered.

Maybe one day I will see them. I know other urbanites have seen Lunas in the city so perhaps they will eventually be attracted to the pecan trees.

Time will tell, and good to see your posting, if only occasionally.

Susan


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RE: Guess what I am?

Susan;
Did you say your cecropia use elderberry? I planted several over the last two years and would love to try them for that.
-Elisabeth


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RE: Guess what I am?

Yeah,I was just being silly with the hybrid name.It's most likely a promethea.

Sherry,that's a great pic! They're a beautiful species,even though they're smaller than cecropia and polypemus.Only one of my promethea cocoons has hatched so far.It was a male and I released it after a few days.Also had two male Io's but no females.


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RE: Guess what I am?

I don't remember this thread. Funny to find a quote attributed to me even though I was never here. Something posted about cocoonase caught my eye as being incorrect so I looked around for answers. After I found them, I also found that the incorrect info in the thread had also been corrected. Anyway, I found this info on cocoonase to be informative (study was done using polys):

"Cocoonase is a trypsin-like protease used by certain silkmoths
for their escape from the cocoon. Just before emergence of the
moth (Days 17 to 18 of adult development), the enzyme can be
collected with forceps from the surface of modified mouth parts,
the galeae, where it occurs as a dry, semicrystalline deposit (l-3).
An inactive form of cocoonase (2) begins to be synthesized 9 days
earlier, by specialized cells of the galeae (4, 5) ; it accumulates
within an intracellular vacuole, and eventually passes through
special ducts onto the surface, where it is activated and concentrated.
At emergence, the dry active enzyme is redissolved in a
profuse solution of potassium bicarbonate (6) secreted by specialized
salivary glands. The bicarbonate solvent adjusts the pH to
the pH optimum of the enzyme (approximately 8.3), brings
cocoonase in contact with the cocoon, and permits digestion of
the "silk glue," sericin, to proceed. Once sericin is removed and
the fibroin silk fibers are free, the moth pushes through and escapes
to the outside."

Here is a link that might be useful: Cocoonase study


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RE: Poly cats

Found a study about why polyphemus cats click. Has a good story about a cat and poly cats.

I did not know that luna cats also click. Guess I'll have to listen more closely to them.

KC

Here is a link that might be useful: Caterpillars Click and Puke to Stop Predators


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