Log cabin case moth


(28 Oct 2016) This ‘building’ is about 9 mm high. The logs, used for the construction, about 1mm across. They are piled up to form a ‘cabin’. As soon as the caterpillar of the bagworm moth hatches, it weaves a silk cocoon around itself, inside which it will live until it grows into an adult moth. To make its life as a larva safe, the caterpillar reinforces its silk cocoon with pieces of twigs it has chewed to the right sizes: the longer ones at the bottom, the shorter ‘logs’ on top. It looks like a tiny log house in stead of an edible caterpillar! These structures are called cases, and bagworm moths are also known as “case moths”. The caterpillar remains mobile as it hunts for food, and it carries the log cabin along with it wherever it goes. It tiny legs stick out at the bottom to ‘walk around’.
It’s a very rare find. Only the second one we found ever, and believe it or not, at this tiny shrub in Knoll NP we even found two!

f/8, 1/80. I took many photos, because this construction was built on a very thin leaf, near the creek, quite exposed to a light breeze: a lot of movement for a macro photo. Despite a fair depth of field it was hard to get the entire object sharp, especially in the low light: I never use flash light in these situations because it destroys the nocturnal feeling. So, the main ingredients were…. patience, perseverance and dozens of photos with lots of different setting. All manual of course.
It was worth every second of it: a very special sighting.