Subject: Found cocoon
Location: Charlotte NC
December 4, 2012 1:30 pm
Hey there. I believe I have a sphinx moth but am not sure. Found this beauty on my chrysanthemum and pulled it off thinking it was dead twig. After I had it in my fingers it started rattling around in the cocoon. Would love to see it hatch but don’t want to hurt it. Suggestions? Thanks!!
Signature: Friend in Bugs, Danielle
This is not the cocoon of a Sphinx Moth. Most Sphinx Moths do not spin a cocoon, but rather the caterpillars burrow and form a naked pupa underground. We believe this is a Giant Silkmoth Cocoon, most likely that of a Polyphemus Moth or possibly a Luna Moth. This image of a Polyphemus Cocoon from BugGuide looks very similar. We will contact Bill Oehlke to see if he can confirm its identification. You should not bring the cocoon indoors as it will most likely hatch prematurely and the adult moth will not be able to find a mate and reproduced. A cage in a protected area that is approximately the same temperature as the outside environment will provide a suitable habitat and you may be lucky enough to witness the eclosion or emergence of the adult moth.
I contacted Bill already and he confirmed it is a Polyphemus moth!! I am truly excited. I have never seen one around my home. He suggested that the rattling was the pupae, not the moth and to bring it in to the fridge crisper now and let it emerge in April. He gave me instructions and links to follow to insure my moth doesn’t get hurt. Since they only live to reproduce for a week, I don’t want it to emerge now! I appreciate your response as I know you guys are very busy . I will be putting a cage out in the spring so we can see the emergence! Will send pictures then. Hope you all have a safe and happy holiday!