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Friday, June 28, 2013

Ceanothus Silk Moth caterpillars finally spinning their cocoons and Jerry Rudy photographed the event!

One of the strangest creatures on the Mendonoma Coast is the caterpillar stage of a Ceanothus Silk Moth. I shared a fantastic photo of Jerry Rudy where he witnessed a female Silk Moth lay her eggs. He watched the eggs hatch and has tended them since. Except when he had to be away from the Coast for a while and he asked his friend, John Sperry, to tend them. John took the first photo of this exotic-looking caterpillar.

 When the caterpillars have stored up enough energy, they begin to spin their cocoon, as photographed by Jerry.
 Below are several cocoons. The Silk Moths spin a silk thread a mile long into an intricate double-chambered cocoon.
 And below is the finished cocoon. The pupae will reside inside during the rest of the year and into spring.
In spring, the lovely Ceanothus Silk Moth emerges to live only a few days. The one below was photographed by Clay Yale. This moth is about four inches across.

What a metamorphosis!

Thanks to John, Jerry and Clay for allowing me to share their photos with you here.

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