Dr. Shorthouse sets caterpiller record straight

To the Expositor:

Congratulations to Georgia Roy for finding a full-grown silkworm caterpillar (August 28, page 18). However, it should be pointed out that the caterpillar Georgia found is that of a cecropia moth and not that of a luna moth. Cecropia caterpillars have large blue, yellow or orange tubercles on their backs, whereas caterpillars of luna moths are lime-green with a few bristly hairs. Caterpillars of cecropia moths spin a tan-coloured cocoon on branches whereas luna caterpillars wrap themselves in leaves held together by silk.

Georgia, and others who find silkworm moths on the Island and want to see the adults, must place the pupal stages (cocoons) in an unheated shed or garage for the winter as these insects need cold treatment in order to advance to the adult stage. Pupae can be brought indoors near the end of February or early March, and if all goes well, you will be rewarded with the appearance of a beautiful moth.

Joe Shorthouse
Emeritus Professor of Entomology at Laurentian University and summer resident at Batman’s Campground