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Our Mini-Carolinian Forest #20: Tulip Tree Host - Part III

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Blog entry by MsDebbieP posted 06-27-2012 08:26 AM 4657 reads 0 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 19: Tulip Tree Host - Part II Part 20 of Our Mini-Carolinian Forest series Part 21: North for the weekend »

June 27/12

Yesterday I shared information about the moth that I found on my tulip tree.

With the help of C. Oldham it was identified as a male Promethea silkmoth. Mr. Oldham suggested that I keep my eyes open as the females would be emerging from the cocoons within a day or two.

This morning, much to my greatest pleasure, I was blessed with watching two females stretch their wings. I have to say it was VERY exciting, not only because I had the honour of witnessing this but because it was taking place on the tulip tree that I had planted.

My property is almost at the furthest northern tip of the Carolinian Forest and many of the trees have been cut down, making room for farm land. My goal, over the years, has been to create a mini Carolinian Forest, planting as many of the trees as my little acre of land could hold. Little did I know at the time of planting the tulip tree that along with planting a tree that is native to the region, I was also providing a natural habitat to some moths.

Here are the photos I took this morning (plus a video at the end):

From Promethea Moth - Female

(the video might be better seen through this link)

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)



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MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3880 days
hardiness zone 5b

gardening is a journey, a journey of learning how to connect with and support Mother Nature

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22 comments so far

View bucheron's profile

bucheron

14 posts in 2117 days
hardiness zone 4a

posted 06-27-2012 08:48 AM

How exciting! Congratulations for being such a good hostess.

Btw, you may be at the northern edge of the Carolinian forest but you are not at the northern edge of the range of the tulip poplar. Last week I discovered one in my forest in western Quebec. I did not plant it there! It is growing naturally.

-- Lose your mind and come to your senses!

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MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3880 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 06-27-2012 09:30 AM

here’s a map of our Carolinian Forest region … it does stretch into western Quebec.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Iris43's profile

Iris43

3811 posts in 3510 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 06-27-2012 09:51 AM

I am so excited for you, MsDeb. To think this kind of thing has been happening for centuries and ‘we’ haven’t known about it. I remember the first monarch b’fly I saw emerg from it’s chrysalis after I had fed and watched the caterpillar make that chrysalis. I would rate it right up there with a miracle! :D

While we maybe on the most northern edge of the Carolinian Forest region, there could be sheltered, mini areas even further north that will support the species that would otherwise be seen only in more temperate areas.

As gardeners, we often try to stretch the tolerance of tender plants and flowers rated for more temperant zones.

Thank you for sharing such special photos with us.

-- 'To plant a Garden is to believe in Tomorrow'

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MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3880 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 06-27-2012 10:10 AM

pretty exciting.. yes a “miracle”, indeed.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3880 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 06-27-2012 12:48 PM

I originally found the moths at about 10 AM.
It’s now 4 PM and they are still there …

In the morning they were facing east and this afternoon they are facing west and have climbed up higher on the cocoons. Very interesting.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3880 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 06-27-2012 02:37 PM

I found this information online:
After the male moth emerges, he flies away and starts searching
for a female. When the female moth emerges, she crawls up a
branch and just sits there. She is disinclined to fly until she
has finished “calling”. At whatever hour of the day or night is
right for that species, the female “calls” for males by emitting
pheromones. She sits still and lets her abdomen hang down so the
pheromones come out. You can see a little brown/yellow thing
sticking out the tip of her abdomen. Males can smell the
pheromones from at least a mile away, and fly upwind to find her.

(source)

So, maybe it isn’t that the females are facing “west” but are facing “into the wind” to help spread the pheromones

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Karson's profile

Karson

242 posts in 3759 days

posted 06-27-2012 02:58 PM

That moth was really noisy. I an see why it was so easy to find. I hope it’s gone by the time you want to go to bed, It’ll keep you awake.

-- Karson retired in DE e-mail karson_morrison@bigfoot.com

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MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3880 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 06-27-2012 03:28 PM

I had to listen to the video to see what you meant :D I had the volume off before.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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Sparkykate

1 post in 2069 days

posted 06-27-2012 04:31 PM

Oh my gosh Deb…..........right down the road from me too! How beautiful and yes, very, very exciting! Thank you for sharing something so special.

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MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3880 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 06-27-2012 07:12 PM

((waves to neighbour)) I hope I’m facing the right direction! :D

Mr. Oldham says that maybe in the morning, if I’m lucky, I’ll find the males and females on the tree.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View sharad's profile

sharad

1671 posts in 3097 days
hardiness zone 11

posted 06-28-2012 12:10 AM

One of the best event I have seen in your postings. The photos and the video are very exciting. The information you have gathered is priceless.

Sharad

-- Bagwan-- “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they have never tried a new thing in their life”.-Albert Einstein

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MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3880 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 06-28-2012 02:12 AM

I thought you’d like this :)

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3880 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 06-28-2012 03:05 AM

update: June 28/12

I’ve been out to check the moths (6 AM)
There is only one female remaining. I guess that means that a male has visited the one female and she is off laying her eggs. The other female, perhaps, is still waiting and maybe she will get her man tonight. Or maybe she just hasn’t left the tree yet. I’ll have to check again later.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3880 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 06-28-2012 06:46 AM

update: 9:30 AM

The second moth is now gone and a third female has emerged and is currently stretching her wings.
I wish I had seen her “coming out party”.
Maybe if I keep my eye on the tree between 6-9 tomorrow morning I will witness the arrival.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Radicalfarmergal's profile

Radicalfarmergal

4312 posts in 3143 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 06-29-2012 06:10 AM

What a fun adventure you are having! Great photos, too.

-- "...I have nothing against authorities as such; I am only in favor of putting a question mark after just about everything they say." Ruth Stout

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MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3880 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 06-29-2012 06:13 AM

thanks.
I think it is over now .. except to wait to find the devastation created by the caterpillars.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Iris43's profile

Iris43

3811 posts in 3510 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 06-30-2012 04:50 PM

OMG, MsDeb, I have been glued to the computer, awaiting your next posting. Imagine. Next year, come July 1st you’ll know what to watch for and maybe you’ll get to see the ‘coming out party. :)

Thanks so much for taking us with you.

-- 'To plant a Garden is to believe in Tomorrow'

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MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3880 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 07-01-2012 03:01 AM

it’s been pretty exciting, that’s for sure. Now I just hope that the caterpillars don’t strip my fruit trees. Crossing my fingers that the story doesn’t have a bad ending! :D

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View daltxguy's profile

daltxguy

882 posts in 2977 days
hardiness zone 4a

posted 07-01-2012 05:09 AM

Unlike humans, nature is not in the habit of destroying the very habitat upon which it depends. If these moths have a symbiotic relationship with the tulip tree, then I think you can be assured that they will only consume enough to propagate the next generation without jeopardizing the life of their host.

Lucky for you though, it seems the Promethea Silkmoth likes other trees too besides the tulip tree so all your hatchlings this year didn’t necessarily lay their eggs on this tree.

I think they will munch through part of the tree but not enough to damage it.

-- Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves. - Thoreau

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MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3880 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 07-01-2012 05:17 AM

my worry is the cherry tree, as it seems that cherry is the caterpillar’s favourite food source, or that’s what I read anyway.

it will be what it will be.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Bon's profile

Bon

7374 posts in 3660 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 07-01-2012 06:25 AM

Love the pictures Debbie.I think it is so amazing that you got to witness all this and that planting that tree is helping to save the silkmoth.Well done.

-- Bon,Hastings,Ont.....zone 5a....Always room for one more

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MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3880 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 07-02-2012 02:40 AM

thanks :)

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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