Laugher spins Cocoon in Georgia

Subject: The laugher
Location: Palmetto, Georgia
November 12, 2013 5:37 pm
I found a fuzzy white caterpillar, around mid-October, which I later researched and identified as ”The Laugher Moth”. I found it near an oak tree in my front yard, and found out that oak is what it feeds off of. I put it in a container with some sticks and some oak leaves and later that day it built it’s cocoon. It was amazing how intricate the cocoon was done! He made it between two oak leaves (with a stick in the middle)…the leaves were completely flat against each other, with the caterpillar and it’s cocoon inside. It’s been this way for about a month now, and the outer leaf of it’s enclosure as since detached. I read some more on this species and learned that in the pupae state, it overwinters. So, my question is: How long will my caterpillar be in this state, and will it emerge as a healthy moth once it is done?
P.S. I named him Snowball!
Signature: Concerned Caterpillar Mom

The Laugher

Hi Concerned Caterpillar Mom,
Despite the blurriness of your photo, the Laugher,
Charadra deridens, has such a distinctive “face” that we believe your identification is correct.  This photo on BugGuide is a good reference.  Chances are good that you will see a healthy moth emerge in the spring.  We would advise you to keep the cocoon in a location where the temperature is similar to the outdoors.  Keep the cocoon out of direct sunlight and you might want to spray it occasionally with water to ensure it does not dry out.  Not all cocoons produce adult moths.  Some caterpillars fall prey to parasitic wasps and flies and though the caterpillar has entered the pupal stage, adult parasitic wasps or flies will emerge after feeding upon the nutrient rich pupa. 

Laugher Cocoon
Laugher Cocoon

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