weird cocoon

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by marvella, Apr 3, 2005.

  1. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v291/tnmtnflower/msoC3404.jpg

    anybody have any idea what this might be? i found it while cleaning out under the rabbit hutches. it's roughly the size of the palm of my hand. the picture shows it laying lengthwise, but i found it with the pointed end up.

    any and all help from you fine folk is appreciated.
     
  2. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    Did you ever see the movie "tremors"?

    :haha:
     

  3. pamda

    pamda Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thats what i thought when I saw the picture. If we don't hear more on this subject should we expect the worst and call Earl and Val to come wipe that thing out?? LOL PAM
     
  4. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    LOL!!! c'mon guys, help me out here. somewhere on this board is an entymologist, i just know it. :haha:
     
  5. pamda

    pamda Well-Known Member Supporter

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    How big is that thing? I have been looking for cocoons on the computer for a while and cannot find a thing that looks like that. YET. Am still looking, tho. PAM
     
  6. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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    The size of the palm of your hand!?

    Might contain spider eggs, or baby spiders..

    Is it really that big!??
     
  7. pamda

    pamda Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I saw the palm of hand remark. WOW!! I think I would get rid of it. The only thing I could find was Praying Mantis. But I have never seen a mantis case that big. All the other really big ones were spider cases and that is too creepy. I love bugs but spiders scare me to death. Maybe you could work up some courage and slice it open and see. I would if I were there. PAM
     
  8. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

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  9. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    i dunno?? it is big. i didn't think it was going to be that hard to ID. i did google it, and came up with nothing. maybe there's more than one critter in there? that hadn't occured to me. if it is any help, i am near the smokies which is one of the most biodiverse places in the world. it could be anything it seems. i can't seem to find an average cocoon size for luna moths, but i have seen them with one wing the size of my hand.

    maybe if you all don't come up with something in the next few days, i'll email a pic to UT and see what they can come up with.
     
  10. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

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    Here's some info on luna moths:

    http://www.ivyhall.district96.k12.il.us/4th/kkhp/1insects/luna.html
     
  11. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

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    http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/johnson/hort/Butterfly/LunaMoth.htm
    Scroll down for picture of cocoon.

    http://www.pcis.net/hwebber/luna.html
    Ditto

    I don't know... it seems that they're more likely to make a cocoon down on the ground or up in the tree. Yours seems to have been built right there on the wire. The size appears about right though.

    Edited to add:

    Tobacco Hornworm:
    Pupa. Mature larvae drop to the soil at maturity and burrow to a depth of 10 to 15 cm, where they form a pupal cell. The pupa is large and elongate-oval in form, but pointed at the posterior end. It measures 45 to 60 mm in length. The pupa bears a pronounced maxillary loop, a structure which encases the mouthparts. The maxillary loop in tobacco hornworm extends back about one-fourth the length of the body, whereas in tomato hornworm it is longer, usually extending for about one-third the length of the body. The color of the pupa is brown or reddish brown. Duration of the pupal stage is protracted and variable.
    http://creatures.ifas.ufl.edu/field/hornworm.htm
    Doesn't sound likely either.

    And yet more on Giant Silk Moths: http://insects.ummz.lsa.umich.edu/MES/notes/entnotes9.html
    Could be it after all...
     
  12. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    okay, I finally got smart and sent the link to my professor of entomology. Hopefully, we'll hear something back.

    Meg
     
  13. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    thanks meg, that will be a big help!!

    vera, in that last link about the silk moths, it looks most like drawing number 2. kind of flattened on the bottm and pointed at either end.

    now i'm REALLY psyched.:)
     
  14. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

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    It'll be cool to see what comes out of this thing :) I don't know anything about bugs, but the size of the cocoon and the season should limit pretty well what it can be. There aren't all that many critters this big who make leaf cocoons like that to overwinter in. If you google for size, like 4 inch (and ignore the 10,000 mentions of 1/4 inch critters), there are only two or three that fit the profile so to speak. Then again, that's hardly a scientific method.

    Unless you have tobacco fields in your neighborhood, I'll vote for one of the silkmoths. No matter what it is, it's amazing... you could fit a handful of hummingbirds into that bug bag. Topsy-turvy Nature, LOL!
     
  15. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    thanks girlfriend!!!! i do think you nailed it. so until i find out otherwise, i am calling it the cocoon of cecropolis, or giant silk worm. good call!!


    there USED to be tobacco fields all over, until the bottom fell out of the small farm market. it is all grown now by big corporate farms, like everything else. so i don't know if that counts. the cocoon shape looks just like this one:

    http://insects.ummz.lsa.umich.edu/M.../entnotes9.html that you posted. if i wasn't afraid of hurting it, i'd move it to some place i could watch it easier.

    thanks everybody!!
     
  16. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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    I can tell you right now, if it is that big, it is no luna moth. Moths and butterflies with large wings do not come out of a coccoon like that. Their wings are all folded up, and the cocoons not much bigger than the body. After they emerge, their wings then unfold while they get rid of all the waste that has built up during their slumber. The wings then dry and harden and they are ready to go.

    I'm thinking some kind of egg sac or something.
     
  17. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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    Was that the length of your palm of the actual size of your palm? Now if it just the length of your palm, then it could possible be a large caterpillar.
     
  18. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    yeah, i guess it's the length of my palm, and about 2/3 the width= between 3 and 4 inces long, probably less than two inches wide, but i am horrid at estimating size. or distnace for that matter.

    i just realized that when it hatches, it's inside the cage. now i'll worry about making sure it gets out when it does hatch.
     
  19. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

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    That cage is made of 1x2 wire, right? Looks in the picture as if the leafy thing covers about 2 lengths (4 inches) and 2 widths or a bit more (2 inches+). The (silk) cocoon itself would be inside the leaf wrapping, so it's probably a snug bit smaller than that. Marvella, if people can take cocoons and stick them in a glass jar for the kids to observe, I doubt that this one would come to harm even if you don't duplicate the conditions exactly. If you're not planning to use that cage as a cage, you could always snip the wires around the critter and hang the whole thing from your porch roof or something like that :)

    N/m, sorry, just looked at the pic again, it covers 4 wide and 1 long. Still 4x2 inches though :D
     
  20. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    Well, the entomology professor e-mailed me back, and said he needed more information. Figures. He wanted measurements, photos all around, and if possible, a dissection, with photos! If you did all that, you could figure it out!

    Gotta love the professors....I guess
    Meg