Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cattail Castle

 This weather beaten cattail seed spike doesn't look very well-kept.  But the fluff is actually kept in place by silken threads of cattail moth caterpillars.

 The caterpillars clever fluff fastening secures a fine habitation for winter's cold siege.  Not only weatherproof, but also well stocked with foodstuffs.  Those stores are the thousands of seeds.

 These pics show the cattail moth caterpillar (Limnaecia phragmitella) crawling around on a cold January day. 

 The cozy cattail castle's contents may liven up one of your cold, drab, and lifeless winter days.  Also, reading the cattail section of John Eastman's book, The Book of Swamp and Bog, should contribute to your understanding of the lively cattail community that once animated those now seemingly lifeless dried stalks.


  1. Nice photos. I couldn't figure out this species until I saw your blog. Thanks!

    1. Peter,
      Thanks! I'm glad you found what you were looking for.
      These are amazing caterpillars, aren't they?. Last night I was out in zero degree (F.) weather looking again at these caterpillars. I picked a caterpillar from the cattail fluff and held it in my for a few seconds while I tried to focus my camera on it... it promptly started crawling away. I was thinking of making another post about the cattail moth caterpillar during these very cold days of winter.