June 09, 2013


While Destin from Smarter Every Day was visiting us here in Tambopata, we came across one of the most incredible examples of art in nature we've ever seen, a cocoon of a urodid moth.

Check out his video on the discovery, and look for the high-resolution images below:

This 'open network' cocoon structure is quite different from other moth cocoons in that it only partially encloses the pupa. This allows for more airflow over the pupa, possibly helping prevent fungus and mold from being able to grow on it.

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  1. Hey Phil, Nice job on the post. I still can't believe you walked for an hour in the jungle and knew the exact spot this little guy was at!!

  2. Could it also be that the cocoon is loosely woven so that it won't catch the wind as well? Because its on such a long thread I'm sure it would swing quite a lot in a breeze.

    1. Exactly my thought when I saw the video!

    2. +1
      It shouldn't swing around, because hitting any object is not very good for a pupa in metamorphosis.

    3. Nice guess, but I think you don't get a lot of wind in a rainforest. The water/drainage explanation seems more plausible to me...

    4. i just saw a video on Smartereveryday's youtube channel explaining this. The holes are so that the cocoon does not fill up with water as the pupa actually needs to breath.

      Link to the Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOLpSPEA72U

    5. sorry the video that i linked is actually the one above. my mistake

  3. I'd love to see the making of this cocoon!

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  5. The design of the pupa doesn't have to be an either/or scenario.
    It could be made that way for a number of reasons.
    Rain is one, wind is another, types of predator could be another.
    Ants would find it harder to get into that, maybe?
    Also, moisture comes from more than one source in a tropical climate - humidity!
    It wouldn't trap humidity and any that did get trapped, any breeze would remove.

  6. Is this a case of genetic memory? maybe a part of the hidden language in the so called junk DNA?

  7. God is awesome....he created such a myriad of beautiful creatures each one with its own unique design......even us x

  8. I live in south Florida and my son just found 2 of these cocoons in the backyard. One in a shoe and one on a wind chime that was on the ground! The one in the shoe was empty and the other one is still in there!


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