Mask of Zorro!


This exotic-looking face greeted me this evening – I was kind of surprised to see him, because I thought the cocoon would overwinter! It’s an exquisitely beautiful moth, Eupackardia calleta. Click here to see the history of it. The first impression is that it’s just black, but there’s a lot going on color-wise with its wings and its fur. This face kind of reminds me of a Zorro costume.

This is the "up" position – he keeps fanning his wings up and down.

And this is down.


This is the tip of the forewing; it gives you an idea of the range of subtle color in the moth.

And this is the edge of the hindwing. It reminds me of tatting or lace along the edge, and the little lavender scales give a nice relief to the shaded brown.

17 replies
  1. mscantbwrong
    mscantbwrong says:

    OMGoose! That is an incredible little photodocumentary! Seriously! I was captivated. Very nice pics.

    If you did it again, would you have stayed up to document the whole process? Just curious… :o)

  2. mscantbwrong
    mscantbwrong says:

    Yeah… that calleta.htm doc was the one I was originally referring to. :o)

    There is a period of time you missed in the photodoc above. You wrote: “The cocoon is taking shape bit by bit. Unfortunately, I missed the part where it grew solid and opaque – I had to go to bed!”

    So I was just kinda wondering; if you had to do it again, would you have continued photographing to the point where it grew solid and opaque? I suppose the heart of my question is… How long does the process of spinning that cocoon take? :o)

  3. admin
    admin says:

    After a certain point, if you don’t have a time-lapse set up (which I’ve done, and got decent results, but it’s in video) it’s very boring to watch the entire thing. The spinning takes usually all day and a night, or thereabouts – the caterpillar starts wandering around sketching silk on stuff, finds its good spot to spin, settles down… that’s usually one day, then the serious spinning starts. The cocoon is usually opaque with most species by the middle of the night; it continues its spinning on the inside for as much as three days, but that’s not a visible process.

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Security Code: