Finally, after the entire caterpillar season was over--after many caterpillars were helped across streets and parking lots, after many caterpillars were brought inside to play before being taken back to their trees, after a jar filled with leaves and twigs and several caterpillar cocoons was left out in a rainstorm and drowned, to much devastating grief and guilt--Will found herself with one last Eastern tent caterpillar, one last chance to love it, feed it, give it a safe place to cocoon inside her kid-made bug barn, and raise it to an adult.
She hatched this weekend:
I didn't realize that the moths would be so pretty! This one is female, and she was so cutely fuzzy. Look at her feathery antennae!
They're nocturnal, which I suppose explains why I've never seen them before, and the females also have a very short lifespan, so we got this one back into her environment as soon as possible so that she could eat, mate, and give the kids some more babies to love on next year.
Will is a little sad that there aren't any more Eastern tent caterpillars around to love, but at least she has a good three dozen tadpoles in a glass aquarium out on the back deck to comfort herself with.