Cecropia Moth lays eggs

Subject: Cecropia Moth laid eggs on me…
Location: Garner, North Carolina
June 8, 2014 9:54 pm
This gorgeous baby was sitting outside my friend’s workplace for about a week without moving, and it has been dubbed “Mothra” due to it’s MASSIVE size! About 2 nights ago, this beauty was fluttering around on the ground, a clump of spiderweb attached to it’s legs. Not one to let a poor creature die slowly, I picked it up and cleaned it off. Surprisingly, it didn’t fly away immediately, and instead chose to perch on my hand and start… defecating? No… it was LAYING EGGS. So I attempted to set it down on a nearby mailbox (which was a chore, it kept clinging to my skin), but it stopped producing eggs. I picked it back up to make sure it was okay, and it started popping out MORE EGGS. So I put it down on the windowsill (after much fighting to get it off of me), it stopped making eggs again! I didn’t want to interrupt the reproductive cycle, so I picked it back up and let it lay about a dozen more eggs before placing it on a log (mo re tussling) in the grass and gently scraping the sticky eggs onto the wood nearby. I didn’t stick around much longer (I was on a limited time frame), but I’m honoured to say I was a midwife to one of these moths! My question is, why me? Why did it stop laying on everything else, but chose to lay eggs on me?
-Steph
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Cecropia Moth
Cecropia Moth

This is just a guess.  In a normal situation, if a female Cecropia Moth mates, she will seek out an appropriate tree to lay her eggs upon, but if she did not mate, she would most likely not attempt to lay eggs.  Much of the weight of a mature, female Cecropia Moth is composed of the eggs, and if she is disturbed, which is what happened when you picked her up, she might expel some eggs. 

Thank you so much for your quick reply =] I’m really hoping she wasn’t dying, poor girl didn’t move for a week and I didn’t know what else to do with her =/

2 thoughts on “Cecropia Moth lays eggs”

  1. Hello, We just had a female Cecropia moth emerge from a cocoon. I found the cocoon in a tree and wanted to find out what kind of moth was in it so I placed the cocoon in a large jar. After about two weeks the moth emerged and I placed a plastic pole in the jar so she could crawl out, since she was trying to expand her wings. However, while still in the jar on the plastic she began laying eggs. Is there any chance that she was fertilized before forming a cocoon. I know some male moths will seek out females while still in their cocoon. I will keep the eggs to see if they hatch them place the young caterpillar on an appropriate food source.

    Reply
    • We do not believe it is possible for a female Cecropia Moth to be fertilized while still in the cocoon. What likely happened is that full of eggs and getting ready for her first flight, she may have laid some unfertilized eggs to reduce her payload.

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