I had big plans to work on photographing mosses, but as Jim and I  started to get up from the morning coffee, it all changed. Jim noticed a piece of wood with a hole in the end and then the moth in my jar (sitting on the shelf in the shop)! I have been checking it on and off for awhile now.

Oh my! I have been waiting since the beginning of October 2020 for it to emerge!
I found the Wilson’s Wood-nymph caterpillar on September 28. Jeanne had found one at her place and I had been on the look out for it here at home. Its host plant is Cow Itch (Cissus incisa).
It really was a cool caterpillar with it paddle-like setae (the things sticking up).

This was taken in situ in our field where the Cow Itch was growing nearby in September 2020.

Closeup of its prolegs. Prolegs are not the insect’s real legs (which it has 6 legs like all insects), but more like pseudo-legs.
For some reason, it was very cooperative straight from the jar. 

Front view!

It has a red spot on the underwing.

This view made me think it was like a bison LOL.
This is its cocoon. It looked to be made of wood bits. I had put the wood chunks like I read somewhere that it liked for it to pupate.

It had some hairy stuff at the opening!

I released it the same place where I had originally got the caterpillars. I had brought two caterpillars home to raise back in September. Only one has emerged. The leaf above is the host plant Cow Itch.

It really blends in!
Now, go back to the top and look at the first photo again.
You can hopefully see the tiny green egg. They are less than one millimeter!

A look at the eggs under the compound microscope. I found maybe a half dozen of them in the jar when I was looking for the second cocoon. I have not found the second cocoon.  I have put the three little eggs in a small container. Now I will wait again to see what emerges.

Keep looking!


  1. Oh my. That really is a pretty moth. Worth the wait. And it looks more than a little like a bison. Now waiting for green eggs. Dont give them ham.

  2. Judy, Ha ha! I actually thought about the ham too. I just re-looked up the species and in the genera sometimes it seems it could be several years for them to pupate. So I should keep them longer it seems. So I will get the jar until the second one emerges.

  3. SO COOL! And what a beauty!! I will be curious if it takes several years. Looks like you provided a great pupation habitat with the wood chunks.

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