Hey it's me Destin, welcome back to Smarter Every Day.
So we just got off this boat and we're gonna walk for about an hour in the jungle
to find a moth pupa. OK Phil just found it.
So what are we looking at here? (Phil) This here is the pupa
of a moth called a Urodid Moth. Now the moth itself
isn't that special looking but this pupa here, is just
incredible. - So that's the chrysalis inside? - Yep. So that's
the actual pupa inside and then on the outside is the cocoon.
So most moths will make a really strongly woven silken cocoon
and try to hide, but this guy has a different strategy.
And instead it just dangles almost a foot down
from a leaf and then it makes its cocoon there.
And that probably protects it moreso from ants than
anything else. - It seems so counterintuitive though to build something like
that. It's almost like 'hey guys check me out'. Oh crap!
Look what I was leaning on. Golly!
- You've got a butterfly on your hat. You know that? - On my hat? Where?
Oh yeah. - It's a satyr. - A satyr?
I can only think about these ants right now. Are you using a macro
lens or just a 100? - I'm using a 105 macro.
Should be able to see the fine structure.. - Oh that's awesome. - .. of this cocoon,
is really one of a kind. You can actually find these guys up in North
America if you're lucky. - So how does he.. OK so he's
gonna become a moth right? So how does he get out once he's...
- It kinda looks, if you look at the bottom there, it almost looks like a little escape shaft.
So it's possible that once it comes out as a moth it'll just shoot right down.
- Do you wanna put your finger under it, so we can see the scale?
You got your manicure? You ready for this?
- Been cleaning my nails all day. - Cool.
OK so please make this transition with me.
So, as soon as I got back from the amazon I had to go to a wedding reception. As I'm sitting there making
small talk with this guy I start explaining this beautiful cocoon I found in the rainforest
because it made such a huge impact on me. So I explained that if a cocoon is to keep
predators out, why would I put holes all in my cocoon?
And the guy said something that shocked me. He goes 'Oh that's interesting. I happen to be a butterfly
farmer'. I've come here to Mr John's house, and I've brought
my kids with me, and John owns one of two butterfly farms in Alabama.
He's gonna show us a little bit about cocoons. How do you sell butterflies? How does this work?
(John) Well that is a fascinating question. That's actually one of my favourite questions to answer.
[laugh] But this is actually the general way I ship butterflies.
Right in like this. And I'll just pad them and put layers. Most of my butterflies go
to zoos, botanical gardens around the country. - So you don't really sell like
ten at a time, you sell hundreds at a time right? - Right. I would say my average size order is about
a hundred butterflies a week. So what we have here, this is a Luna Moth cocoon.
And some people are confused about the difference in a cocoon, here
and a chrysalis, or a pupa here.
And the difference really isn't that great. Inside the cocoon is actually
your pupa. So this, the cocoon itself is really
just the covering that the pupa spins around itself. If you look here
at the spicebush swallowtail, it does not have a cocoon. So it's just
the pupa, whereas the luna moth actually spins the cocoon around
the pupa. - This is the picture of the thing that we took in the rainforest
- Yeah that is a beautiful example of a cocoon. - Why is the
here I'm seeing these cocoons are solid, but on that thing you know, there's holes in the
cocoon. Why would it do that? - Well that's actually a very important defense mechanism. If you look
at the cocoon on this lunar moth it's very tightly woven.
So if this was hanging on a tree like the one you found down
in the amazon, if it was hanging like that, as massive amounts of
rain fell, it would actually fill up with water and actually drown the pupa.
So those large holes actually allow the rain to just fall through
instead of filling up the pupa. - Oh so a pupa actually has to have air? - Correct. Yeah
People don't think about that a lot but pupa breathe, just like any other living animal. They need air.
So if they're surrounded by water, if that cocoon was to fill up with water it would actually drown the pupa.
- Oh wow. Interesting. Well thank you very much John. - You're welcome, enjoyed it.
- Last thing. You hear us using the term chrysalis. That comes from the Greek word cresos, which
means gold. Some butterfly pupa have a gold shimmer to them, so what's why
they're called a chrysalis. I thought that was pretty interesting. OK my goal here was for you to learn,
enjoy and maybe see something beautiful you've never seen before. I will now try
to earn your like or subscription by providing a link in the video description to the high resolution
photos of the cocoon, because it's pretty awesome. Anyway I'm Destin.
You're getting Smarter Every Day. Have a good one.
(Destin) Gerson I gotta ask, what are you doing man?
- Steps back and use the binoculars. [laughs]
- I think Gerson needs some glasses. [laughs]
How long have you lived out here? - Well,
I am from here. I was born here. I actually know this place very well.
I have almost ten years guiding in the area, but I never seen this
before. - Never? Are you just not a very good guide?
[laugh] - I like the birds more than the butterflies,
but I always focus in details, new things,
because I like these things, but I never seen this, honestly.
- Awesome, so you've lived here your whole life and you've never seen this. - No really.
And if you want to check out John's stuff, I may or may not leave a link, depending on what we decide. [laugh]
So anyway, have a good one.
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