Catocala relicta and John Himmelman

Bill Oehlke oehlkew at
Wed Jul 23 12:24:16 EDT 2003

A friend just gave me a copy of  John Himmelman's new book. Very nice.   I saw John's interest in Catocala relicta. The eggs, that I saved last fall, hatched. I photographed some of the final instar larvae and now have cocoons (yes, cocoons to my surprise). The larvae in the sleeves descended into the frass and used some leaf cuttings to fashion cocoons out of silk, leaves and frass. To my even greater surprise some of the caterpillars formed cocoons amongst leaves on poplar branches in large tubs.  The cocoons are quite flimsy but entirely enmeshed, about 3/4 size of similarly spun luna cocoons.
In the wild, I suspect the larvae descend tree trunks to spin up amongst leaf litter. I expect them to hatch early-mid August. It will be interesting to see how they call and mate.  I will shortly post new images to Catocala relicta article
Bill Oehlke
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