Fwd: mystery cloudforest cocoon

Daniel Janzen djanzen at SAS.UPENN.EDU
Tue Dec 10 13:28:45 CST 2002

Ed, Saturniidae are those very large "giant silk moths" (cecropia moth,
luna moth, polyphemus moth, prometheus moth, io moth), and there are many
hundreds of species of them in the New World tropics.  Ecuador has at least
200+ species of them.  One genus of Saturniidae, Rothschildia, has
caterpillars about the size of your thumb when they have finished growth,
they then spin a cocoon much like the one that Hibbs has shown.  I only
know the four Costa Rican species of Rothschildia well, and two of them can
on occasion spin a large cocoon like that at the end of a 2-15 cm silk
"rope" that is attached at the other end to the twig (as in the photos).  I
am guessing that the cocoon is also a Rothschildia cocoon of some species
that I do not know - though I also admit that from its almost spheroidal
shape, it might be some other genus that does not occur in Central America.
Hope that helps.   You can see a lot of these at
http://janzen.sas.upenn.edu and doing a search on Rothschildia.

Dan Janzen

>From: "Ed Pirog" <pirog at cox.net>
>To: "Daniel Janzen" <djanzen at sas.upenn.edu>
>Subject: Re:      [TAXACOM] Fwd: mystery cloudforest cocoon
>Date: Tue, 10 Dec 2002 09:14:33 -0800
>X-Priority: 3
>    Can you put that in english for one of the less educated? I'm curious as
>to what that is. Thanks.
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Daniel Janzen" <djanzen at SAS.UPENN.EDU>
>Sent: Tuesday, December 10, 2002 12:01 PM
>Subject: [TAXACOM] Fwd: mystery cloudforest cocoon
>> That is certainly Saturniidae, and almost without doubt a species of
>> Rothschildia (of which there are many in South America).  Dan Janzen
>> >I found this in the cloudforest in Ecuador a few years ago and have
>> >wondered since then, what could have made this?! I found it among other
>> >miscellany in my basement recently and felt compelled to ask the taxacom
>> >listserv, anyone know what this is, who created it?
>> >
>> >http://www.wam.umd.edu/~hibbs/mysteryitem.htm
>> >
>> >Thanks,
>> >Peter
>> >
>> >-----------------------------------------------------------------
>> >Peter Hibbs Kerr
>> >| University of Maryland        | Department of Systematic Biology

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