As some of you know I have some lights up around my house for moths. This year, since I’m home all the time I’ve done more than usual and I’m also hoping to try rearing some caterpillars. The other day that I had a female Cecropia Moth and I kept her over night to see if she’d lay some eggs – she did and I’m patiently waiting for them to hatch.
Right now we’re in peak season for a lot of the big showy Giant Silkworm Moths and I had a female of another species, Promethea Moth show up at my light on Monday night:
|Promethea Moth female (slightly bigger than a Monarch for size comparison)|
So I captured her and put her in a paper bag overnight hoping for some eggs. She didn’t, so I gave her another night and still none, so I assumed she must not have mated yet. In most of the Giant Silk Moths, the females “call” by releasing pheromones to attract the males, which have an incredible ability to detect these pheromones from large distances (up to a kilometre!). In Promethea, the females call in a very specific time period between about four and six in the afternoon. So, the next day, I put her in a cardboard box with a screen lid. I checked on her several times but no males came. Yesterday, I did the same and was checking regularly…nothing. Then about 5:20 pm when I went outside there was a swarm of 5 or 6 males trying to get into the box! I lifted the lid and a male quickly flew in. Almost instantly she must have stopped calling because the other males dispersed very quickly.
|Male Promethea Moth|
After about 3.5 hours they uncoupled and the female laid a few eggs in the box. I let the male go and put her in a paper bag (easier to collect the eggs) and she laid some more eggs (total of about 34) by 10:30 pm when I let her go outside.
So, I’ve got some more eggs now that I’m hoping will hatch in a week or two! If you're curious about raising some yourself, I found this website which has some good info and photos: https://www.prairiehaven.com/?page_id=9857