Breaking up winter

The first challenge of The Pyri Project has been to bring the cocoons through winter in Finland. Due to the freezing temperatures outside I had to simulate a more suitable winter, and provide an artificial micro climate in the refrigerator.

With spring emerging outside also food plants start becoming available. The time has come to break up winter and give green light to the Giant Peacock Moths (Saturnia Pyri) to continue their metamorphosis. In other words, the box of ‘chocolate’ can, after 6 months, be taken out of the fridge and be placed in room temperature.

The wake-up

To verify the condition of the chrysalises I cut the cocoons and removed the pupae. This will later on also facilitate the hatching process of the adult moths. As a nice surprise, all individuals were healthy. In fact, the temperature around 20 decrees Celsius made them quite active (see video). The first challenge has been passed successfully.

The video was shot bare-handed with no tripod, hence apologies for the shaking quality. Nevertheless, it nicely shows the activity of the chrysalises waking up. Our daughter Sienna, who’s voice is also on the video, fell in love with the ugly creatures when they started stretching. She carefully observed the process when I opened the cocoons in our backyard.

Now it’s time to wait again. The next challenge is to get the moths hatching to breed them. I’d expect the amazing adult moths to appear around mid of May.

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