family…hello & goodbye, Nemo

Our caterpillar, Nemo, that we found a month ago FINALLY hatched! He was pupating underground for three weeks, and then wiggled his way to the surface where he stayed until he popped out of his chrysalis a week later. We were excited that he completed his transformation from caterpillar to moth. His survival was in doubt as we had very little information on how to rear these guys.

Nemo was beautiful. He was big, fat and furry; you could see his eyes. He felt like a little pet. When we tried to release him, he clung to my arm. I realize now, that his wings were not fully developed. Slowly his two sets of wings opened and spread, and for the next few hours, he clung to his net waiting for night time.  When the lights went out, Nemo came to life! His wings moved so fast you could hear them. Once I released him outside, he was gone in the blink of an eye. 

Nemo in his chrysalis a few hours before he opened. You can see the pattern of his wings. His head is to the right of the picture.

Shortly after emerging. Isn't he cute? His wings hadn't spread yet. 

Nemo clinging to my arm. You can get a sense of how big he was. His legs had  tiny little barbs that allowed him to cling and crawl…very cool.

His big, strong wings spread.

D holding the broken chrysalis.

Watching Nemo change from caterpillar to moth was fun for the whole family. D became quite fond of him during the short time he was with us and cried during our first attempt to release him…so sensitive and sweet.

Anyhow, we moved on, and now we are discussing what insect we should get next. A praying mantis is on the top of the list, perhaps more caterpillars, or maybe a tarantula [if I get my way!].