The plumage of both sexes is at first like that of the female, but after moulting the young males gradually assume the more brilliant plumage of their sex.
It also uses the burrow as a safe retreat during moulting and guards its cocoon and young in its depths.
The growth of an insect is usually rapid, and as the cuticle does not share therein, it is from time to time cast off by moulting or ecdysis.
In structure and some of its habits much resembling a bullfinch, but much exceeding that bird in size, it has the plumage of a crossbill and appears to undergo the same changes as do the members of the restricted genus Loxia - the young being of a dull greenish-grey streaked with brownish-black, the adult liens tinged with golden-green, and the cocks glowing with crimson-red on nearly all the body-feathers, this last colour being replaced after moulting in confinement by bright yellow.
As these moulting periods approach, the worms lose their appetite and cease eating, and at each period of change they are left undisturbed and free from noise.
Our moulting season, like that of the fowls, must be a crisis in our lives.
The process of moulting is said to begin in the middle of autumn and is completed before the end of December, by which time the fur is in its winter condition, and is closer, fuller and longer than in summer (Naturalists' Library, vol.