Thursday, April 12, 2012

Open Sesame

I found this interesting little blob -- a moth's cocoon if I am correct -- the other day when I was cutting down last year's dried aster stalks.  Let me pause a moment to beg of you, if you are the kind of gardener who flinches at the thought that I was cutting back dried stalks well after the daffodils have come and gone in the spring, that you try not to imagine what it looked like when I cut back only three-quarters of the stalks and left a lopsided clump of them remaining standing for the convenience and safety of this small creature.  Furthermore, don't even think about the fact that this particular clump of aster, the only perennial I had not already cut down in fact, is right at the corner of the front walk leading to my front door.  Anyway, when I first spotted it, it didn't look quite like this.  It didn't have the hole.  The emergence of my newest garden visitor happened yesterday, while I was at work.  Go figure.  This looks similar to photos I've found on the web of Promethea moth cocoons, but I don't know for sure that there aren't other moths that might make similar ones.  I hope it is a Promethea.  I hope I get to see the adult moth.  But even if not, I'm happy to host creatures like this in my garden.  Even if it means some incomplete spring cleanup.


  1. That looks very much like a praying mantis ootheca. Either way it is very cool to have your garden filled with wildlife and reproducing. It is a testament to your healthy eco-system in your garden!

  2. I'm with Karin - I think it's a mantis case. I've hatched them before in my classroom and also found them in my garden. Super tidy gardeners miss pleasures like this. :o)

  3. Hi Karin and Casa Mariposa - I dunno, when I've seen an ootheca it looked much different, a hard material with many layers of separate chambers, almost like a hardened foam. This is a single chamber and made of silk. But I'm with you 100% that this it's an indicator of a healthy ecosystem and a super cool reward for not being compulsive about tidiness!