Our first little project of the summer is getting interesting! I let the boys collect a few fuzzy caterpillars last month to keep in a (well-ventilated) jar for a while. We kept them well-supplied with fresh grass and have them some sticks to climb on, and it wasn't too long before our little fuzzy-wuzzies started pulling out their own fur* to build their cocoons. I didn't even know they did that! It was amazing to watch, and I wish I had a camera that could have taken better pictures than this. I got to watch the entire (8 hour-long) process with the first one. AJ laughed at me because I kept going back to watch, but it was fascinating! It reached back to pull out hairs with its mouth, then attached the hairs to the stick, and then to the other hairs to make sort of a little boat around itself, turning around half-way through to get the back end done, then managed to build the cocoon right around itself. Amazing.
Fuzzy boat phase of cocoon building ^
Anyway, this was a few weeks ago. Last night, just before the fireworks, I noticed a big black spot inside the jar- a moth! I'd never seen this type before- I think it's called Ctenucha virginica, and it's so pretty. Again, my camera does it no justice- it's black with iridescent blue on its thorax and a bright orange head, with gorgeous feathery black antennae:
It got out of the jar last night- moths are harder to contain in a well-ventilated jar than caterpillars are. As of this morning it's chilling on the top part of the stove- not great camouflage, but I figure the little critter deserves to have a quiet spot to rest for a while, so we're just going to leave it for now.
*I don't know whether they have fur or hair or what. They're furry. I say fur.