Tag Archives: lichen moth

The new Cinderella Alexandra

6 Mar

A couple of weeks ago, I introduced you to Cinderella Alexandra, Hannah’s caterpillar.  You can read about her here.

On Thursday, it was finally Hannah’s turn for show and tell at preschool.  They only get to have a turn every two weeks.  From the very first day we found Cinderella, Hannah asked when she could bring her for show and tell.  She spent an hour talking to The Jess on the phone, telling her about Cinderella over and over again, an excited smile plastered on her face the entire time.

“Are you excited to bring Cinderella for show and tell today?!” I asked Hannah last Thursday morning, glancing at the cage as I spoke.

“Hannah, look! She’s hatched! She’s a moth now!”  Yes, I know, hatched is probably not the most appropriate word, but in my excitement, I had an episode of verbal diarrhoea. I was not actually expecting to see a moth quite yet.

“WOW!” Hannah exclaimed with joy “She’s a moth! She’s so pretty!”

Daniel checking out the newly emerged moth in awe

Daniel checking out the newly emerged moth in awe. You can see the fur and cocoon in front of the leaf.  Cinderella is pictured from her underside.

We picked a big pink flower from the tree outside and put it in Cinderella’s cage because I read that moths don’t eat at all, but drink nectar from flowers.  Later I read that this particular kind of moth is a lichen moth, and they dine on “lichens and other encrusting algae and moss.”  Oops.

“We have to cover Cinderella’s cage so no one sees her until show and tell time.” Hannah told me.  When we got to preschool, we put Hannah’s blanket (don’t worry, it’s full of decently sized holes and you can easily breathe under it) over the cage and explained to the very understanding teachers that no one was to look under the blanket until Hannah herself showed them.

When Aaron got home that night, he and Hannah put Cinderella in the big tree in front of our house.

In the morning, she was still there.  In the exact same spot.  Shoot, what if her time in captivity rendered her unable to fly somehow?

Hannah had a different explanation. “She loves me so much, she doesn’t want to leave!”  The notion made Hannah extremely happy.

By 9am, Cinderella was still sitting in the tree, in the same spot.  Except she somehow found herself a friend.

“She found her mommy!” Hannah told me, pleased that her moth was not an orphan.

I’m sure hoping it wasn’t her mommy, because by friend, I mean the little floozie was making moth whoopee within 10 hours of her release.  Is it weird that I took a photo?

Cinderella is the one on the left

Cinderella is the one on the left. Female moths are bigger than males. Maybe it’s just this pair, but the male has a bluish tinge in his black parts where as the female is black black.

When we got home from playgroup at 12ish, she was still engaged in moth loving.  Still.  And Hannah was right, Cinderella is definitely the girl.

When Aaron got home at 6:10pm, they were still attached at the nether regions.

Apparently, moths mate for like 12 hours.  Who knew?

Saturday morning, she was still perched in her tree, sans her man friend.  Then by Sunday, she was gone. Maybe she flew away, maybe she got eaten by something, I don’t know.  Either way, the whole thing was pretty amazing. How many 3.5 year olds get to see a caterpillar, a cocoon, and then the resulting moth? I’d never even seen that before!

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