nanonaturalist: At last! My tiny fluffy teddy …

nanonaturalist:

At last! My tiny fluffy teddy bear moths have arrived!

My first southern flannel moth adult emerged from his cocoon this morning. You may remember my previous posts of them: as caterpillars, they are the most adorable fluffy shy hairballs who are also so venomous their stings are considered the most painful kind you can get in North America.

They were so cute and I wanted to hold them SO BAD but the closest I could get was stroking the side of the tank while I wept over how life was so cruel to deny me the joy of holding these sweet babies.

Well, my first sweet baby is here. A boy: his antennae are feathered to detect the scent females let out to attract mates. I knew they were small, but I was still surprised to see this tiny baby. Every surface is covered in fluffy fur.

His little black boots. His fluffy bum. His orange mustache 😭

I’m not going to lie. I kissed him. He is perfect.

Cocoon made July 6, emerged August 8, 2017

@snakeleggy asked

How long do they live as adults? I heard moths don’t last that long usually 😭

I’m not really sure how long they live, but most insects don’t live as adults very long (max one season). Some insects will spend years in their immature form, then become an adult, mate, hopefully produce offspring, and then die in a few weeks. When you think about it, insects are very fragile. It’s not hard for a moth to get beat up pretty fast–birds biting at their wings, flying into plants, getting caught in a rainstorm. 

The largest moths, the silk moths, don’t even have mouths as adults–they live one week after emerging from their pupae, which is enough time to find a mate and lay AS MANY EGGS AS POSSIBLE EVERYWHERE. I’ve had female flannels that I was (trying to) release, and they just won’t leave. They wait for a male to show up. And… one time, a wild one DID and started mating with her while my back was turned. And she laid SO MANY EGGS guys holy carp. You can read more about that adventure here [link].

May 1, 2018