Insects of Iowa
Insect Orders
Information Page
Life Cycle Page
Moths of Iowa
Cecropia Life Cycles

The Cecropia caterpillars hatched on July 5, 2004 from eggs my daughter got from a moth that was given to her. I started with 7 caterpillars. One only went through 2 instars and then died. The other six formed cocoons and pupated. The caterpillars took approximately 4-8 weeks to cocoon and pupate. The pictures show the Cecropias in various stages of growth. The caterpillars were fed willow leaves which had to be replaced every two days due to the caterpillars consuming them. The caterpillars reached a length of four inches long and 1/2 inch wide before pupating. Picture 1/2 shows the eggs of a Cecropia moth. Pictures 3 through 9 show the caterpillars in different stages of growth. Picture 6 shows a caterpillar going through an instar and shedding it’s skin. The head is smaller than the first segment. It is usually drawn part way into the segment giving the impression of being larger.  The caterpillars have to shed their skin so they can get bigger. The skin is loose after each instar and the caterpillar grows into it. Picture 9 shows a close up of the knobs on the caterpillar. Picture 11 shows the cocoon that the caterpillar formed out of silk. Picture 12 shows the inside of the cocoon and  picture 10 shows the pupa that forms inside the cocoon. Picture 13-17  is of the moth after it has come out of the cocoon, spreads it’s wings and is dry and ready to fly. After the wings harden the females release pheromones that attract males. After mating the female will lay eggs on host plants in different places and then dies after a couple weeks. The Cecropia does not eat in the adult stage.