Thursday, July 27, 2017

Imperialis

My breath caught when I first saw it from the other side. A Luna Moth! I thought from the size. I was confused when I saw all the brown. I'd not seen this type of giant moth before. I Googled on my phone "from the silk moth family". It is an Imperial Moth, or Eascles imperialis of the Saturniidae family. Her wingspan is 4.5 inches.

Immediately, I worried that perhaps our elementary school experiments had ruined the local ecology and released silk moths in our neighborhood. We used to mail order the eggs and grow them to caterpillars, feeding them the mulberry paste or gathering leaves from our own mulberry tree. I don't remember releasing the moths, in fact, I do remember the caterpillars forming a cocoon - we watched them spin it - but I don't remember any moth ever hatching.

I was relieved to learn that this particular moth is indigenous to our area. I am seeing so many moths these days because I've been leaving on the porch light at night as a deterrent due to some robberies in the area. My niece asked me to look for caterpillars or cocoons, as she wanted to hatch some moths, but in this particular subfamily of moths, when the caterpillars are ready to pupate, they burrow underground. I have been keeping an eye out for the dead moths (they live only a few days after mating) but they have all flown off.

It seems over the years, I've written a number of blogs on moths and butterflies. You can find them by using the search box on this blog.




1 comment:

Rick said...

I have only ever seen three luna moths. Yep, it would take my breath away to see another one as well.

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