What's in the tank?

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Every once in a while my students do me the pleasure of bringing in a random find. This large cocoon about 3.5 inches long turned more than a few heads. Of course once something like this arrives in the classroom we have no choice but to figure out what we have.

It definetely looked like a moth cocoon when we first looked at it but it was certainly much larger than any other moth cocoons we usually see. We're also used to seeing spider egg sacs around buildings each autumn but this was also too big for that. (Unless of course we've found some new larger spider, mwa ha ha). So now we're looking at the larger moth species in Nova Scotia.

Since most moths in Nova Scotia are pretty small that left two options that I was aware of. The Luna moth and the Cecropia moth. Either of these would be large enough to produce the cocoon in question.

This fine green fellow here would be our resident Luna moth. I see these fairly often in the summer months if you leave your porch light on. It can sound like someone is knocking on your day if they decide to start thumping up against a window where light is shining through. Definitely my first guess.

The second moth here is a Cecropia. I've only ever seen one once so they certainly aren't as common around where I live as the Luna moths, or else I suppose they could be super stealthy and I just don't notice them. When I started looking up images of their respective cocoons however, it looks like our sample most likely belongs to a Cecropia.

In the past we've hatched butterflies in our classroom so this winter we're going to have a new resident in our tank. When spring comes we'll have the answer.

The students and I are all excited to find out what's in the tank. I'll be sure to post an update when we find out."

Have this figured out?

Think you have some experience with moths and know what's going to surpise us this spring? Feel free to message me and let me know.