[CT Birds] Bird Predation on Silk Moth Pupae

Benjamin Olsen benjamin.olsen at uconn.edu
Mon Apr 8 11:56:05 EDT 2013


I am graduate student of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University
of Connecticut and I am studying Silk Moth decline in the Northeastern US.
There is ample anecdotal and empirical evidence that Silk Moth populations
have been declining sharply since the 1950’s and there has been much
speculation and research into the causes of this trend. Factors such as
light pollution, loss of early successional habitat, and introduced natural
enemies have all been implicated. More likely than not, there are an
ensemble of factors that have caused the decline of this beautiful group of

The role of introduced parasitoids in Silk Moth decline has been
investigated by Jeff Boetter at the Universit of Massachusetts who found
that 80% of larval mortality was caused by an introduced parasitoid fly.
Our research, however, explores the role of avian predators on the
mortality of Silk Moths as they over winter as pupae.

We are looking for eyewitness accounts of attacks on Silk Moth (Promethea,
Cecropia, Luna, etc.) pupae. If you have observed a bird attack on a Silk
Moth cocoon, please email me at Benjamin.olsen at uconn.edu and include your
name, date of attack, bird species, Silk Moth species, and a brief
description of the location and event. Any information that you can provide
will be helpful and thank you in advance.


Ben Olsen

UConn EEB Master Student

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