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Mother of Moths?

It's been a busy spring, Canco Park Conservancy has been at work building up the Audubon Certified Wildlife Habitat Garden with lots of help. The Bergen County Audubon Chapter Grant and their relationships with Northern Jersey native plant purveyors and volunteers have allowed CPC to rev up it's efforts. School field trips, scouts and neighborhood volunteers have been a help and a delight.

Just before another one of those spectacular sunsets this weekend, we found a beautiful creature hidden in some leaves. A GIANT SILK MOTH. As a nocturnal insect, it was docile in the sun... fuzzy body and soft silky feet with these huge beautifully marked wings. I was so afraid to damage it or upset such a gorgeous creature. Our intent was just to move it to a safer spot but once in my hands, it didn't want to let go of me.

We estimated this Polyphemus moth at a whopping 6.5 inches wide wingspan. The big spots on its wings resemble a great horned owl and are a defense meant to startle predators such as squirrels. Large moths like Polyphemus do not feed. They hatch as complete adults from their cocoons in late afternoon and mate until morning. Females can begin laying eggs the same evening. Their short lifespan is an average 5 days.

One facet of our mission is to bring awareness to the importance of Urban Wildlife Habitat creation on both a small and large scale. If you build it, they will come! Come visit or contact us for a tour... we'd love to point out the signs and secrets of our local wildlife, big and small!

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