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Giant Silk Moth Caterpillar Release
Luna and Cecropia moths are two of the largest and most unique native moths in North America. They are not endangered, but they have become uncommon in urban areas due to several environmental factors, including habitat destruction and light pollution.
Mount Auburn has implemented a project to reintroduce these amazing moths. Many desirable host plants are present in our plant collection and over time we hope that with a little help from our citizen scientists, both moths will establish successful breeding populations at the cemetery.
Join our citizen scientists as they release Luna and Cecropia caterpillars onto leaves of trees at Mount Auburn. The giant silk moth life cycle is called complete metamorphosis. That means that each silk moth enters several life stages beginning with the egg, then larva (caterpillar), then pupa (cocoon), and finally emergence as adult moths.
The citizen scientists will cover the branches that the caterpillars are released onto with mesh sleeves to protect the larva from predation and allow for continued observation. The caterpillars will eat the foliage and grow until they are ready to become pupa and create cocoons. The citizen scientists will then remove the pupa and place them in protected overwintering boxes. Next year, beautiful adult moths will emerge to mate and begin the complete metamorphosis process all over again.
Families are welcome to this event! Meet at the Visitor Center in Story Chapel.