POLYPHEMUS EGG LAYING!
This week we've been dealing with some intermittent, but much needed rain. It hasn't halted our hunts for the unusual on the island. I'll have to start with an amazing story about a Polyphemus Moth found floating on the water at Sanddollar Beach. We were having a morning beach hunt and snorkel, when I spied a moth floating on the water. I picked it up, finding it alive, though wet with salt water. I placed it in a large Surf Clam on the beach to dry. The moth's wings dried and it looked like flight would take place, but this female moth had other things on her mind………laying eggs! She laid eggs in the shell, and later laid more on an Oak leaf which is the kind of food her caterpillars will eat and thrive on. It looks like the egg laying was her last effort. These large moths do not live long; mating and egg laying are their purposes in life. So now I shall be watching to see if these eggs hatch, and hopefully will be able to nurture them into beautiful caterpillars, and ultimately watch their cocoon spinning! This specie overwinters as a cocoon, so I'll have to wait until next spring or summer if it works out!
Our snorkeling produced an interesting assortment of sealife, not all of which was alive. Sanddollar Beach was found to produce lots of sanddollars (count them!) netted while snorkeling and 2 alive ones! We celebrated by creating a 2008 with these findings as you see here. Also adding to our assortment, we found quite a few Moon Snail sand collars…..the form in which these snails lay their eggs. We used one for one of the 0's. The two alive sanddollars are at the top of the 8. They are dark and fuzzy. Sanddollar Beach really lived up to its name on this beautiful sunny day!

A Monarch emerged this morning, and was hanging from its empty chrysalis while its wings firmed up for flying. It looks like the prospects are good for take off on a foggy morning.

The past week found us scrambling to stay dry, though most of the rain came in late day or evening. The tornado further south spared us. Starfish Cave was on our itinerary where we checked the status of the resident sea life. There was so much human activity in the cave that the anemones closed up and looked like squashed tomatoes. Luckily, they will survive and expand their tentacles in flower-like fashion. We moved on down the rocky coast to Sunset Lagoon, with several intrepid campers squeezing through the tunnel enroute. Here is Liam emerging! Crawling through the tunnel is not for the faint of heart!

7/26/08 Ronnie with a moth thrill!