Monday, June 15, 2009

Luna Moth

Actias luna
I was lying in bed watching TV Friday night when I saw in a large object in the darkness beating on the window. John opened the window and captured this luna moth so that I could photograph it. I've seen many of these beautiful moths, but this one was not tattered, about to die, or dead. The subtlety of its colors was wonderful to observe. Of course, I enlarged the head and antenna as I like to do.
The moth's eye is dark puple in the patch of dark fur behind the antenna. The yellow fur above the antenna is muscle to support the large wings. Wikipedia's entry for this moth:
Adults . . . emerge from their cocoons in the morning. Their wings are very small when they first emerge and they must enlarge them by pumping bodily fluids through them. During this time, their wings will be soft and they must climb somewhere safe to wait for their wings to harden before they can fly away. This process takes about 2 hours to complete. The Luna moth has a wingspan of between 8–11.5 cm (3-4.5 in) with long, tapering hindwings, which have eyespots on them in order to confuse potential predators. Although rarely seen due to their very brief (1 week) adult lives, Luna moths are considered common. As with all Saturniidae, the adults do not eat or have mouths. They emerge as adults solely to mate, and as such, only live approximately one week. They are more commonly seen at night.
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