Locating Cocoons

Most Vermont species of Giant Silk Moth attach their cocoons to trees, shrubs and other vegetation, either directly to twigs and branches (Cecropia Moth, Polyphemus Moth), within a leaf that is reinforced to remain attached to a twig (Promethea Moth), or to the trunk of a tree (Columbia Moth). Luna Moths create their cocoon within curled leaves as well, but do not reinforce the leaf, so their cocoons fall to the forest floor with the leaves and can be difficult to find.

As you stroll outside this November, check trees and shrubs of host plants for these moth cocoons. Cocoons may be located higher in the branches, or closer to the ground in younger host trees and shrubs. Cocoons are large (up to two inches), and may be spun in more protected parts of the twigs and branches, or may hang from a twig, appearing to be the last leaf remaining on the plant.

Check out The Caterpillar Lab for helpful information and tips!

Identifying Cocoons

Cecropia Cocoon

Cecropia Cocoon. © Ryan Hodnett

Cecropia Cocoon. © Ryan Hodnett

Promethea Cocoon

Promethea Cocoon on Green Ash. © hobiecat (iNaturalist)

Promethea cocoon. © Nathaniel Sharp

Polyphemus Cocoon

Polyphemus cocoon. © Richard Crook

Polyphemus cocoon. © Charlie Hohn

Luna Cocoons

Luna cocoon. © kotenburg (iNaturalist)

Luna cocoon.

Columbia Cocoons

Columbia Cocoon © Rob Hannawacker

Columbia moth, subspecies gloveri © Patrick White