A beautiful cecropia moth perched on a tree at the Virginia Beach Middle School Butterfly Garden patiently waited for her prince to come.
She slowly opened and folded her wings occasionally, but she didn’t fly.
Her belly was big and swollen with eggs.
And if her prince didn’t come at some point, she would just give up and lay those eggs, unfertilized, explained Maurice Cullen, the teacher who oversees the school garden.
It’s tough for a “princess” cecropia to find a mate she when she emerges from her cocoon early in the season when males also can be sparse. Fortunately, the males are no dummies and they can be drawn to her sweet pheromone perfume from far away.
Cecropia moths, one of the largest moths in the United States, are in the giant silkworm family and their wingspan can more than 5 inches across, But life is no bed of roses for these beauties.
They have no mouth parts, do not eat, and live only to mate. So here’s hoping our female cecropia’s prince will come.
Without food and lacking a prince, there’s not much left to make the world go round.
Have you come across a surprise or puzzle in nature? Do you have a tidbit of local lore? Share your stories and sightings with columnist Mary Reid Barrow. She’ll take your questions and photos, too! Read Mary Reid Barrow in The Beacon on Sundays and Thursdays.