We guessed it to be a cecropia moth caterpillar, and naturalist Ranger Steve Mueller, of Cedar Springs, confirmed it is indeed a cecropia moth larva. “If it was crawling about, it is probably looking for a place to spin a cocoon,” said Steve. “It will over winter and emerge in May if kept outside. If the cocoon is kept indoors it will emerge as an adult early and will not find a mate for reproduction.”
Ranger Steve is the state coordinator for Michigan and Utah for the national database of Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA), a citizen science website. He said it was a good year for the silk moths, and he received several photos of adult moths that people submitted to document the species for their county.
“When people submit a butterfly or moth record, I verify the identification and then it is posted on the national database,” he explained.
Anyone can take photos and submit them to BAMONA, no species knowledge necessary. To learn more, or to get involved, visit www.butterfliesandmoths.org.