what is this cocoon?
Hi I came across this cocoon about 2 weeks ago on the ground. It has been scratching on the inside ever since. I’ve determined it might be a polymorphous moth. Any thoughts? Also how long will it take before it will hatch? Thanks,
Ryan

Hi Ryan,
We are nearly positive that this is a Luna Moth Cocoon, but it might be a Polyphemus Moth. Without meaning to sound smug, it will hatch when it is ready. The complexity of insect metamorphosis is not like a three minute egg. Some combination of time, temperature, humidity, length of day, and perhaps airborn pheromones will trigger the hatching.

18 Responses to Luna Moth Cocoon

  1. Kyuuketsuki444 says:

    This isn’t a Polyphemus. My Polyphemus cocoons (sitting right next to me) are a bit rougher.

  2. renee says:

    I have several luna moth cocoons and am waiting for them to hatch in my netted butterfly holder. During the winter, I kepted them in sealed containers in the bottom of my husband’s wine refrigerator to be sure that they stayed dormant. Once taken out of the frig. I was told to mist them with water everyday and keep them in the basement. However, now that it’s getting warmer, I was wandering if I should just place them in the garage and wait till they are ready to hatch. If anyone has any advice, I would greatly appreciate it.

  3. sue says:

    At the end of last summer, my 7 year old daughter convinced me that she found a luna moth caterpillar. I wasn’t sure and didn’t give it much thought after it adhered itself to leave in my daughter’s terrarium. Nothing was happening for weeks so she put the terrarium in the garage. She’d check on it daily…for months. Fast forward to 2 weeks ago, she shows me a cocoon with contents moving around briskly inside. Crazy. So we have it indoors waiting for it to emerge..it continues to be quite active every day if repositioned. My concern is that the coccoon seems so “sturdy” and hard, I wonder how it’s ever going to get out. Probably a crazy question, but should I be doing something …or putting it somewhere…to help it along? We hate to miss it emerge.

  4. Susan McNeil says:

    Hi there,
    Wonderous fortune haha,
    I found a luna moth caterpillar the other day. It was green huge about 4 inches long and pretty thick round beautiful colors on the little raised dots. Anyway I made it a cage stitched from cloth screening it climbed to the top and It has started to build a coccoon. It has begun to get chilly here and I am not sure if I should bring it inside or leave him be on the screened in porch. I am in Massachusetts near Plymouth, if this information helps can you help me with what to do (if anything) to keep it safe until it hatches?

    Thanks 🙂

  5. Julie says:

    Does the Luna Moth chrysalis sometimes stay white for weeks? I’ve heard that it was supposed to turn brown. But we found a Luna caterpillar 3 weeks ago. It formed it’s cocoon the night we found it. It only halfway wrapped itself in a leaf and it’s cocoon has remained white ever since! I hope it’s ok! Suggestions?

  6. Carolyn says:

    My husband and I saved a Luna caterpillar about 4 weeks ago. It made its cocoon the same night but hasn’t hatched yet. I thought maybe it died but It was scratching again. Will it hatch soon?

    • bugman says:

      Though in many locations, the Luna Moth overwinters as a cocoon, it is early in the season to have a Luna Moth cocoon that waits until next spring to “hatch” so we suspect you live in an area where there are multiple generations (southern portion of the range) of Luna Moths in a given season. That stated, we suspect you will have an emergence soon, especially if you heard a scratching sound.

  7. Liz says:

    Hi Bugman…..I found a Luna Caterpillar on Aug 8th, it cocooned on the 10th. It’s still cocooned and doesn’t make much noise/scratching unless I touched. Do you think it will come out soon or overwinter? It’s been indoors since our temps (i’m near Chicago) have been all over the place….put it back outside? Any help is appreciated….ty!

    • bugman says:

      At this time of the year, for your location in Chicago, we are speculating that the adult Luna Moth will emerge in the spring.

  8. Justboy8 says:

    I feel so bad. We found a Luna Moth caterpillar last fall, that night it made it’s cocoon, hooked itself to the side of the container. The next morning we were so surprised to see it. Well, the container it was in was way to small so I wanted to put it in something larger and gently took it off the wall of the plastic container and put it in something bigger. Well that was last Sept. After all this time I though it had died, I didn’t feel it moving and just felt it rolling around inside. That was a couple of weeks ago, so just left it alone. Well I explained to my son that it had more than likely died and he asked if he could open it up, well you guessed it, is was still alive. We carefully put it back into the cocoon, placed it into the terrarium with some grass over it, I did spritzed it with some water, the terrarium not the cocoon. Is there any chance it will live?

    • bugman says:

      Time will tell. Be patient.

      • Jeannie Stubblefield says:

        Finally did come out of the cocoon and it was not a luna moth at all. It is a Polyphemus moth. We took the tank out to the porch, removed the lid. Hopefully by morning it will have flown away. Amazing how the catapillar looked much like the Luna moth. Wow, from September until now. My son was so excited to see it had come out. Me too… I feel better now.

  9. Debbie says:

    Where does the Luna Moth caterpillar build its cocoon; up high or in leaf litter on the ground? Thank You!

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