18 Apr 2012 CYANA MEYRICKI
The larva (caterpillar) of the Cyana Meyricki moth builds a stunning cage-like cocoon, a tapered oval in plan, out of its setae or hairs, which are numerous and appropriately long. The larva suspends itself in the cage and emerges as a moth through a gap in the taper. We have seen plenty of cages in a variety of locations, including 11 on the door of the neighbouring garage to the one where I film my moths. I have also filmed a cage in the rainforest at night. A few months ago I was checking some footage of a Wood Duck nestling 10 ducklings when the next sequence grabbed my attention. It was of a caterpillar climbing the wall of the garage where I film my moths. It was covered in long dark hairs and, based on the abandoned exoskeleton of larva in the cage, it was about the right size. So I asked Steve to capture some frames and sent them to Dr David Britton at the Australian Museum in Sydney who is an expert on the moth. Today I received an email from him agreeing that “it is highly likely that this is the larva of the Cyana meyricki”. He refers to the long serrated hairs on the body matching those that are used in the cocoon. I am not aware if any footage exists of the larva building its cocoon.