Photo: Ceanothus silk moths in Montara

Letter

Posted by
Wed, May 5, 2010


Ceanothus silk moth
Two ceanothus silk moths

Our neighbors across the street invited us over the see these beautiful moths in their yard. A little later we received this email. Caterpillar and coccoon photos after the jump.

If you look closely in the second photo, you can see that there are two moths.  Look for 2 sets of antennae.  One moth (male) is larger and has larger antennae.  The other has a larger abdomen (female).  They were mating on our Ceanothus shrubs for at least 12 hours the other day.  We named them Sting and Trudy. 

The adult moths do not fully develop mouths, so they cannot feed.  They die shortly after they mate.  How sad.  The moths are huge, at least 3 inches long.  The larvae (caterpillars) are also huge.  These were 4 inches long and we took pics of them last winter. 

We saw about three of their cocoons sometime after that.  They are also really large.  The caterpillars feed on the Ceanothus and then make cocoons, pupate and become moths.  Who knew?

Ceanothus silk moth  

 

Ceanothus silk moth  

 

 


Barry,  I am glad you posted photos of the caterpillar and cocoon stages.  These are wonderful creatures at all stages of their lives. The evidence I have used if spot evidence of these creatures in the past by looking for Ceanothus plants that have the leaves stripped to the branch.  Looking closely will reveal a caterpillar close by.  The plant will regrow the leaves, please do not use pesticide to get rid of these caterpillars.

Fabulous pictures, Barry!