Monday, November 8, 2010

Is There An Entomologist in the House?

As I was cleaning up in the gardens yesterday, I came across this cocoon on a small arborvitae shrub. I've no idea what made it and I'm calling on the power of the internet to hopefully help identify what might be spending the winter in it.  It measures about two inches long and an inch in diameter.

Since the shrub is located under a maple tree and we've seen the caterpillars for the Polyphemus and Cecropia moths on that tree, perhaps it's one of those. I wonder when in spring or summer the inhabitant will emerge so that I can keep watch and maybe see it come out.

I saw a similar cocoon on another shrub a week or so ago, but I can't remember just where it was, so this isn't the only one we've got. Any ideas as to what this is?


Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Good luck Kylee, I have no idea. Have you asked the extension office? Our new agent in Virginia is an entomologist...maybe there is one in your office.

Dani said...

Hi Kylie

Don't know if you get them in Indiana, but to me that cocoon looks like that of a rain spider.

If it is that, then the spiders are not dangerous, but are HUGE and frightening and the type I call RMan to dispose of.


Michael said...

I'm pretty sure, based on color and shape, that's a Polyphemus cocoon. Cecropia is a lot more pointy-ended and typically darker brown. My guess, is that a caterpillar either wandered down out of the maple, or fell off a branch, and had to make do where it was.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I agree with Michael. I found one of these in our garden once, only it was empty.

Pat said...

Hmmmm...Love arborvitae shrubs.
Don't know what you have.

Annelie said...

Not a clue, but please keep us updated!
I am very curious.


Darla said...

I'm hanging on for an answer too.

Debbie said...

Definitely looks like a polyphemus cocoon to me. Michael is right, the cecropia cocoon has points at the ends. If you're interested in identifying cocoons and other insect signs, I highly recommend the book Tracks and Signs of Insects and Other Invertebrates, by Charley Eiseman and Noah Charney!

Peg Wiggins said...

Kylee, a couple of years ago we discovered a similar cocoon; and it turned out to be a White-lined Sphinx moth.
(Wisconsin, NW)

So perhaps ?

Kylee Baumle said...

Janet ~ No, I've not asked there yet. I didn't think of that! There isn't an entomologist in our office, but they may have been asked this question before. (As a Master Gardener, I may be asked this question!)

Dani ~ I'm actually in Ohio, although close to Indiana (11 miles from the state line). As far as I know, we're on the wrong side of the globe to have the rain spiders you're talking about. I can understand why you ask RMan to get rid of those!

Michael ~ I hope that's what it is. I want to see the adult! We've only ever seen the caterpillar.

Lisa ~ From what I can tell, there is something in it.

Patsi ~ This one is a "hand-me-down" from my parents and is quite small. It doesn't grow much, because we've had it for years. It's a nice, round shape.

Annelie ~ It's looking like nearly everyone thinks it's a Polyphemus moth cocoon.

Darla ~ See Debbie's comment below! :-)

Debbie ~ Thank you for jumping right in on this one! I was hoping you would. Also thanks for suggesting the book. I'm going to check on it!

Peg ~ We have those here, too.

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