Monday, August 29, 2011

imperial moth

If it weren't for the fact that the sight (or thought) of a cockroach turns my stomach, I could have been an entomologist in a former life. Since both of my children have decided at one point or another that they'll grow up to be bug scientists, we have something in common.

So - when I found this imperial moth in the yard - I knew (or hoped) they would appreciate it. It was huge, with a wingspan similar to the luna moth, but with a much thicker body. Sarah was more focused, maybe because she realized that this wasn't something we see everyday, or maybe because she wanted to make me happy. Eric came and went, wandering off to do something else and then coming back to check on the moth (and to ask when we would be finished looking at it).

When we came back inside, I looked it up online and found out that it's related to the luna moth, both of which are in the Saturniidae family. One interesting factoid about the moths that belong to this family is the lack of mouth parts or a digestive system in adults. Their sole purpose is reproduction, and they live for less than a week.

That is, unless a bird picks them off sooner. The imperial moth's numbers are in decline, possibly due to light pollution. The theory - the moth doesn't move fast enough after resting near a light at night (at its size, how could it?), and the following morning it becomes quite a feast for a now-fat bird.

1 comment:

  1. fascinating really-like paint drying on a wall- fascinating