Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Moth

In March last year, I wrote about a very large, green caterpillar that Jack found in the garden. Steve Ogden from Wildlife Insights said he thought it was a Speckled Emperor and advised us to give it a box of leaf mould to pupate in. Jack found an old tin bath which he filled with leaf mould and the caterpillar duly burrowed down and formed a chrysalis. Steve did say it could be weeks or months before it hatched out, or it may not hatch out at all. For months the tin bath has been on the veranda, just outside the front door, nothing much appearing to happen.  On Saturday evening I went to water the herbs on the veranda and, luckily, spotted the moth trying to climb out of the bath! Jack had put branches in the bath for the new moth to use to climb out, but it hadn't found them, was repeatedly climbing up the sides of the bath and then falling back. Jack rescued it and put it on a small quince tree in the front garden. At that stage, its wings were tightly furled. Over the next couple of hours, the wings gradually opened. We took photos throughout the process, so it's possible to see the sequence:


Steve Ogden confirms that it is indeed a Speckled Emperor Moth. It had flown away by morning, so I'm glad we were able to get the final photo, despite the fact that it was dark by the time the wings were fully opened. Our neighbour Craig was here and clearly thought we were a little crazy, to be so excited about a moth, but after all this time we were glad to see the end of the process!

11 comments:

  1. fantastic, you are lucky to capture this wonderful event unfolding, nature at its best!

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  2. I love nature and so glade your family cares about it too. It funny I was looking at this from my phone and when saw the first picture I thought you tried your hand at beading a moth I had seen some like this on pinterest☺

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  3. I remember when you first became interested in the caterpillar. I'm not sure I'd have had the patience or been observant enough to see what would happen. I'm glad you did! My friend Denise would be right there with you watching and photographing. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Astounding progress and you managed to follow it! Thank you; I find this very exciting. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜Š

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  5. Jane, such a beautiful story!!!

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  6. Wow! A year in the making! Great pics - now if only there was a time-lapse video ;-P
    So how large did the moth turn out? Did it do justice to it's caterpillar size?
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful transformation - nature in it's natural beauty

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    1. It was big, but not huge. Maybe 12 cm across.

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  7. Great pictures of the story of the moth, you captured some really great moments of new life.

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  8. Wow! Thiis is such a miracle of Nature. Gorgeous! Thank you for all your efforts to save and photograph this beautiful moth. <3

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  9. The whole process is quite elegant and I am so thankful you were able to document and share. I prefer to see moths in pictures, for some reason I abhor most moths.

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  10. I really like this story! You are not crazy, just can be happy with the miracle of life:)

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