Last month a female Cecropia Moth emerged from underneath my neighbor’s deck; it spent Fall and Winter there in a cocoon.
The very next night a male stopped by to mate. This is North America’s largest native moth – females with wingspans of six inches or more have been documented.
This spectacular insect is prized by collectors and nature lovers alike for its large size and extremely showy appearance. Their caterpillars feed on leaves (mainly Maple) throughout the summer. The adult moths don’t eat at all and rarely live longer than a week.
The adults’ sole function is to mate and produce a crop of eggs. In order to find a mate, male Cecropia moths use their extraordinary senses. A female moth produces chemicals called pheromones, which the male can detect from over a mile away.
I haven’t seen one of these awesome insects since my childhood, so it was a thrill to get reacquainted with them.