Polyphemus Moth
By Mona Luo and Polyphemus Moth(s)

Started on: 05/04/14 19:24:40
Medium: Visual

I've been keeping a pupa since summer. He's still alive and kicking. Hopefully he will emerge soon. I named him Pupy (pew-pee). He is a Polyphemus Moth, this is his lifecycle:

Eggs hatch in about 10 days from the time they were laid in mid-May or June. Caterpillars take 5-6 weeks to molt 4 times before reaching a full grown size of about 3 inches. The time from hatching to pupation varies, but seems to be in the neighborhood of 70 days. Cocoons are spun usually between leaves. This generally occurs sometime in July or August. The caterpillars form pupa within the cocoon and stay in this state all the way until they emerge as moths in mid-May or early June. Within the pupa the caterpillar body is liquefied by enzymes. Imaginal disks are in place to reassemble the cells into the proper adult forms. These disks stimulate cell division. Males emerge a few days before females, but generally in synchronization with each other. Females, when they emerge, release a pheromone that attracts males from miles away. The moths do not have mouths or digestive tracts. After mating, they die a few days later. Adult moths can be up to 5 inches across. These moths can be found almost any state in the continental United States in areas with trees. They spend about 80% of their entire life span in the pupal form.


Full grown caterpillar

Adult moth

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