From May through August, we offer many species of lepidoptera for sale and donate some
to school groups and summer camps for the purpose of education with the hope of inspiring
some young minds into appreciating the natural world.
One day an eager curious-minded young lad came into the store with his
insect net in outstretched arm, inflated, and ready to be filled with what would turn out
to be a fun summer project that overshadowed every thing (including a trip to Disney Land)
else his Mother had planned. His Mother had been in earlier that day to inquire about
whether or not her five-year-old son would be old enough to understand and enjoy rearing a
cecropia caterpillar. We showed her pictures of the life cycle of cecropia, discussed the
length of rearing and shared with her some of the highlights: molting, eating, and
cleaning! She decided that her son, Matthew, was old enough to understand the commitment
and told us she would be back with him later.
Matthew approached the counter, placed his insect chamber on the counter top, and said
excitedly "I'm here to pick out my cartoonapillar!" We all smiled and tried not
to giggle to embarrass him, and explained the correct name of the larva was caterpillar
Matthew's cecropia wandered off its lilac branch this past Sunday and crawled, for the
last time, into a corner of his bug chamber. The cecropia (now named Chomp!) was beginning
its last stage as a caterpillar, wrapping itself in the paper toweling that was lining the
chamber; Matthew was feeling a sense of loss. He called this afternoon to tell me what had
occurred and I reminded him that this meant he had done a good job and that he will be
rewarded next spring when Chomp emerges as a big beautiful and colorful cecropia moth!