A Discovery

Today I was doing some yard work, and as often happens I make plans to do A, B, and C, and then get distracted and do X or Y instead of B and C. I’ve been trying to eradicate the periwinkle, so I hauled what I’d pulled up over to a spot where it can sit on stone and slowly die. (At least I hope it dies, with things that are invasive you never know. I’ve still got an eye on a black bag of yellow flag iris corms that continue to sprout every year after being out of the pond for three years.)

Anyway, after dumping all the periwinkle I looked at the tarp where I’d spread out the rest of the iris corms to dry up and hopefully eventually die, and decided that if I wanted then to dry this summer I really needed to re-spread them without all the tree debris that collected over the winter. So I started doing that, which is a longish and mucky task, as the tarp collected water in the last rain, or the the tree debris did, and it’s doing its best to turn into dirt.

Somewhere in the process, half buried in debris, I found something. I don’t know if it had fallen from a tree or (more likely) been tossed there when I clipped back some branches in the area. At first I thought it was a bit of old tin foil, because it was silvery in the weird way old tin foil that’s been out in the elements gets, and it felt crumply. But then I realized it wasn’t tinfoil, it was something organic. It was a cocoon.

large cocoon, probably of ceanothus silk worm moth

It’s over two inches long, which is a little disconcerting, and FAT.

I came inside and started to do a little research, and then I remembered seeing a huge moth a couple of years ago. I decided that a huge moth would have a huge cocoon, so I checked, and yes, I’m pretty sure this is the cocoon of a ceanothus silk worm moth. Certainly silk would explain the silvery metallic appearance.

Anyway, I put it in a (big) spare jar and we’ll see if anything comes of it in the next few months.

cocoon in a jar

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