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  • [music]

  • 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.

  • [music]

  • 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.

  • [ Captions by Andrew Jackson ] captionsbyandrew.wordpress.com

[music]

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