Tumblr STILL eating all my posts. Was an idiot and didn’t save all my text before submitting. So, condensed version: boy #3 came, had hatched from a different set of eggs from boys #1&2 and looks different. They come out of their pupae really fat then slim up after a day. Io moths don’t eat as adults, etc etc
Gloves because mosquitos. Io moths are safe and don’t sting like their caterpillars.
I had heard that Mother Neff State Park (which is halfway between Temple and Waco, TX) had cecropia moth caterpillars. These are the caterpillars of the largest native moth in North America (wingspans greater than 6 inches have been documented). And you know what you need to get a giant moth? A giant caterpillar.
I only found one (hiding in the plum tree right outside the visitor’s center!), and a couple cocoons (bottom two photos), so it seems that I came just in time. Any later and this one would have been in a cocoon too. The fun part: the unripe plums in the tree were the same exact color and texture as the caterpillar (he felt like velvet!), so despite being enormous, they are very well camouflaged.
He was very shy. He kept pulling his little face into his rolls to hide. Everything about it was perfect. A highlight of my week, for sure. Even if I didn’t get home until 3 am!
“Cooking dragonflies usually involves some sweat equity on the front end. Swinging a net in classic insect nerd fashion in the heat of south Louisiana summers is typically the only way you can come by large numbers of these notoriously elusive bugs. But after having collected and frozen them, they can be made to taste very much like soft-shelled crab.
I treat dragonflies like fish in that they are run through an egg bath and then dredged in seasoned fish fry. Prior to the cooking of these critters, take equal parts butter, soy sauce, and creole or country-style Dijon mustard (about a tablespoon of each), mix, and heat in a small skillet for a couple of minutes on a low setting. This can be set aside in a little bowl. Then you need just two burners: on one, vegetable oil is over a medium heat in a shallow pan. On the other, sliced portobello mushrooms sauté in a very small amount butter with just a sprinkle of garlic powder.
When the oil is hot enough for frying, dragonflies go in for about thirty seconds, get flipped, and then cook for another thirty. This is perhaps a good time to note that these are delicate insects. In order to insure that they stay intact, I recommend repurposing an entomological tool known as featherweight tweezers and turning them into a culinary device: these wonderful forceps can be used to hold dragonflies by the wings both when prepping them for the pan (the egg and flour procedure) and when they are being turned in and removed from hot oil.
The scientific name for the order of insects to which dragonflies belong is Odonata. When we make this word English, we call them odonates. And so, in seeking a clever, alliterative name for this truly scrumptious dish, I came up with Odonate Hors d’Oeuvre. I describe it as lightly fried dragonflies on sautéed portobello mushroom.”
These photos are from the Instagram of Dottie Angel (Tif). I came across her account when I was creating my recent Wild Flower aesthetic. Trying to decide on one of her images to include in my aesthetic was hopeless, so I thought I’d create a completely separate post. Her feed is AMAZING! There are so many photos to chose from I still couldn’t decide what to put in this 😫!!!