Return of the Hickory Horn Devil

Last fall, you may recall, we had a Hickory Horn Devil visit our offices.  We oooed and ahhhed over it, and stuck it in a jar full of soil, into which it promptly buried itself.  These enormous caterpillars over-winter as pupae, so we wanted to see what would happen.

The jar sat in our offices for quite some time, and finally it was buried outside in the “usual spot” where Carrie buries all similar finds.

Last week we went and dug it up.  After all, all sorts of butterflies and moths are flying around, so we figured our guy must be ready to emerge…if it hadn’t already done so.

Carrie brushed off the leaves and gave the jar a tug…

A quick look in the top showed nothing but dirt.  Hm.

She dumped it out and there, about three inches down, was the pupa!

Because it had been in there so long, we were concerned that maybe it had perished, so she picked it up to examine it.  It was cold.  But the warmth of her hand made it twitch!  It’s alive!

We placed it back in the jar and covered it back up with soil and brought it into the office.  Surprisingly, the ground where it was buried  was still quite cold and we figured a warm office might help speed up its metamorphosis.

So, it’s lying in its jar behind me…waiting.  I dutifully water it to prevent the soil (and pupa) from drying out.  I’ll keep you posted on its progress.

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About Dahlem Center

The Dahlem Center is a non-profit nature center/environmental education center located on almost 300 acres just south of the city of Jackson, Michigan. The Center is one arm of the Dahlem Conservancy, which includes land conservancy and stewardship in its mission.
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