When an adult moth or butterfly emerges from its old pupa skin we say that it has eclosed. The process of eclosion is, in many ways, similar to the shedding that caterpillars undergo, or the process of pupation.  However, the events that occur just before and after eclosion are quite unique and open up many new topics to explore in the life cycle of these complex little creatures.  Explore the videos and downloadable resources below for details!
By the way... ever wonder what the difference is between a butterfly and a moth?  Think you already know the answer?  You might be surprised. Download the .pdf to the left and check out The Caterpillar Lab's in depth answer.  Did you learn something new?

TCL Original Videos • Accompanying Narratives •  TCL Pupation FAQs and Teaching Guide


Cecropia Moth (Hyalophora cecropia)

What happens to a cecropia giant silk moth inside its cocoon as it ecloses?  The pupa in this video has been separated from the cocoon that usually shields it from our view. How does a moth expand and dry its wings?

PDF description of this video.  Find more resources like this on each video page

Luna Moth (Actias luna)

How does a luna moth escape its tough silk cocoon?  What happens next?  This video starts with the luna moth just starting to emerge and ends with it drying its fully expanded green wings

PDF description of this video.  Find more resources like this on each video page

The Caterpillar Lab fosters greater appreciation and care for the complexity and beauty of our local natural history through live caterpillar educational programs, research initiatives, and photography and film projects. We believe that an increased awareness of one’s local environment is the foundation on which healthy and responsible attitudes towards the broader natural systems of this world is built.

© 2015 CATERPILLAR LAB INC.  With original artwork by Heather Reid and Samuel Jaffe


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