Sunday, June 08, 2014

A Hawkmoth emerges from its cocoon in the ground.

Those of you who follow our blog know that we are keen observers of nature in all its forms including insects. We try and maintain a broad variety of natural habitats to encourage biodiversity and to maintain the natural balance of our plot. We have areas that we leave wild, wood piles, rockeries, ponds and a bog garden, amongst others, to create natural habitats for a range of insects, birds, mammals, amphibians, molluscs and reptiles. Many of our inhabitants can be found on our other blog: Smaller Tales from Toriello.

Smaller Tales from Toriello
We often inspect these areas to see what has taken up residence. One natural resource we rarely think about are the large areas of lawn (grass meadow cut and maintained short). It came as quite a surprise this week to stumble across a Hawkmoth emerging from its cocoon in the ground just near the tool shed. Luis' brother spotted it, just a dark brown head emerging from between blades of grass. By the time I had retrieved the camera from the house the moth was almost out.

A few minutes later, the moth started to expand its wings in the warmth of the afternoon sun. It was about 5cm in length and 3cm across at the base of its wings. We think it was a privet hawkmoth due to the stripes on the base of its body. They feed on, amongst other things, Ash of which we have several surrounding La Pasera.

Gawber the cat (increasingly bored) was curious: what are these humans looking at and is it worth eating?

We protected the moth with a rake and watched from a distance only to find the moth clambering on the rake and resting. We placed the rake in a safe position away from feline eyes and left it alone expecting that it probably would not take flight until dusk or nightfall. Sure enough, the next morning it was gone.

We retrieved the cocoon from the ground out of curiosity and wondered how many more would be emerging around our plot that we will never spot.

We will certainly look out for the caterpillar this coming year and keep our eyes open for other signs of life in all areas of the garden.


  1. Anonymous7:06 pm

    I'm with you - never tire of observing nature

    1. Fascinating in all its forms CIG.


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