Subject: Large green caterpillar
Location: Mexico City, Mexico
October 20, 2015 10:18 pm
Hello. For about a week I was keeping track of the ravenous diet of a relatively large caterpillar on one of the neighborhood’s trees. Over a month ago it cocooned (Sept 10) and I was keeping track of that too when I saw someone trimming the tree. Luckily the cacoon seemed undamaged, but it is now in my home and I’d like a ballpark figure of what it could be, or more specifically, how long it will remain in the cacoon (seems from the type of cacoon it will become some kind of moth). Any information will be greatly appreciated!
Signature: Adriana

Rothschildia species Caterpillar

Rothschildia species Caterpillar

Dear Adriana,
Just last week, we posted another example of a caterpillar in the genus
Rothschildia, and Bill Oehlke tentatively identified it as Rothschilida orizaba orizaba or Rothschildia peggyae.  We suspect, since you do not have a harsh winter, that the emergence should take four to six weeks, so you might be expecting an adult moth in the very near future.  The image you submitted that is a close-up of the prolegs of the caterpillar is especially interesting.  Because you rescued the cocoon after the tree trimming, we are tagging your posting with the Bug Humanitarian Award.

Prolegs of a Rothschildia caterpillar

Prolegs of a Rothschildia caterpillar

Hi Daniel,
Thank you so much for the response.  It seems like Alfredo and I had extremely similar experiences.  I looked at hundreds of caterpillars and none had that particular division between the bottom and top body, I too was looking at the prolegs and none were quite right.  It is definitely a Rothschildia.  Beautiful.  Can’t wait for its emergence!  Thank you!
Adriana Urbina

Hi Adriana,
Please send us an image or two (dorsal and ventral view perhaps) when it emerges.

Cocoon of a Rothschildia caterpillar

Cocoon of a Rothschildia caterpillar

Update:  November 2, 2015
We are 3 days away from week 8.  Is this normal or could there be something wrong?

Rothschildia Cocoon

Rothschildia Cocoon

Dear Adriana,
Since you do not have a freezing climate, we suspect emergences of Giant Silkmoths in your area are more connected to humidity than temperature.  Be patient.  The cocoon looks fine.

Tagged with →  
Location: Mexico City, Mexico

2 Responses to Silkmoth Caterpillar from Mexico spins cocoon

  1. Alfredo says:

    Hi, I’m glad to read about Rothschildia again. Thanks to this site I could get to discover more of this species. In my case I found 4 caterpillars and according to Bill Oehlke (Thanks What’s That Bug?) they could be R. orizaba orizaba or R. peggyae, so I asked a close entomologist and she thinks it might be R. orizaba. Apparently it is very difficult to identify accurately, even as moths. I’m of State of Mexico and this weather will take 4-5 weeks (have your camera ready!). The species is commonly known as “Mariposa de Cuatro Espejos” in Mexico and is endangered. The common name it’s applied to multiple Rothschildia species. Here’s some pics taken by me if you’re interested: http://alfredopfoto.tumblr.com/rothschildia – Good luck! 🙂

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