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Published on May 13, 2009
Here, in super close-up high resolution 720p HD, we can watch a female White-Streaked Silkmoth (Saturnia albofasciata) performing the first parts of her miraculous metamorphosis from caterpillar into adult moth. This cut-away view shows what nature normally hides from sight: the caterpillar changing into its pupal phase where it will wait until fall. If you look closely and/or freeze the video just after the skin is shed, you can make out the compressed form of the adult moth, with head, antennae and stubby wings outlined in the pupal case. The adult moth will actually form inside this case, developing to fit these outlines. If conditions are right, it will complete its transformation and emerge sometime around the end of October. However, some wild silk moths have been known to hibernate in this pupal phase (called "diapause") for several years before emerging, if environmental conditions aren't acceptable for continuation of their life cycle.
In the wild, cutting open a cocoon would be an almost certain death sentence for the pupa due to predators and the elements. However, this pupa did just fine in the lab/studio where it was protected from both, and emerged as a healthy adult the following October.
Typical timeline: Caterpillar builds cocoon: 36 hours Pupa forms under old skin: 7-9 days Molting (pupation), shown here: 10 minutes Final forming to shape, shown here: 60-90 minutes Pupa hardens new skin (shell): 6-10 hours Pupa in diapause (dormant): about 2 months Adult moth develops in pupal shell: 45-55 days Moth emerges: late October
The music is a portion of "Pink Anomoly" from the "Red Dawn" CD by Technician (yours truly). Full artist discography, MP3 downloads and CDs are available at the Technician website: HTTP://technician.jcmdi.com
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