Curious, spectacular cocoon
Location: South Florida
September 1, 2010 9:15 pm
I found this in my crepe myrtle tree about two weeks ago. It’s a stunning piece of work, but I’ve never seen anything like it before. Even my colleague, a caterpillar/moth/butterfly guru, has never seen the likes of it and pronounced it ”spooky.” It’s between 2-3 inches long. What made this?
This cocoon was made by a Bagworm, the caterpillar of a moth in the family Psychidae. As a caterpillar, the Bagworm spins a shelter from silk and organic matter from the plants upon which it feeds. It drags the bag around while it feeds, never leaving its shelter. It then uses the bag to pupate, the stage depicted in your photograph. Adult Bagworm moths are sexually dimorphic. The males are winged and the females lack wings and legs and do not leave the shelter of the bag once mature. After mating, the female lays her eggs in the bag and after hatching, the young caterpillars disperse, each spinning its own bag which is enlarged as the caterpillar grows.
Thank you!! Thanks for choosing to feature the photo on the site. I see that you have had many similar questions in the past – I wish I had known where to start looking.