April 3, 2013


Do you remember collecting insects for your Biology bug collection in high school? Somehow I managed to skip that; I opted to take Chemistry as my one required science class - and was that ever a mistake since I very nearly flunked the class. But I didn't want to (1) dissect a frog, and (2) collect bugs.

Fast forward several decades, and our youngest daughter took Biology in college last summer. She had to make an insect collection. I honestly thought they might have waived that project by now, but evidently not. (She had to dissect a frog too.) Now mind you, there isn't a lot of bug diversity in Wyoming, where she lives with her husband and baby. So, mom steps in and offers to pick insects off the screen door in the mornings for her. Insects congregate under our porch light, and it was an easy task to hold an open sandwich bag underneath the bug, knock it off the screen, and freeze it for her per her teacher's instructions. Can't you just imagine us driving to our summer meeting place with a bag full of frozen Oklahoma bugs for our daughter?


One morning this week I opened the front door to see hubby off to work and caught a big moth as it tried to fly inside. I scooped it up and put it back outside, knowing that my inside cats would tear the house apart trying to catch such a prize. Later in the morning before I did the feeding chores, I took the camera outside to try to find what I knew was a polyphemus moth.

Last year I found a pair of these moths just a few days after seeing a luna moth; this year the same thing happened - I saw a luna month less than two weeks ago - but last year it was in September! This being April, I'm a little concerned at how early they are appearing, but then again, perhaps I just haven't seen them this early in years past. The barn cats... well, I've talked about that before. Sometimes I'd just find a wing that had been "chewed up and spit out."

I truly love these big moths; they are just incredible. The antennae are amazing.

The one on the front door fluttered to the ground and "disappeared" in the leaf litter.

I coaxed the wings apart so I could see the blue and yellow "eyes". 

That's when I spotted the one on the living room window, right next to the door.

Just like the pair I saw last September, you can see that these are "new" moths, recently emerged from their cocoons as adults. Old moths have frayed edges on the wings, and they look ragged. These two are nice and crisp.
By evening the one on the window was still there, but the other was nowhere to be seen. As always, I'm hoping the female, whichever one she was, will be laying eggs soon. I love being visited by these beautiful, short-lived creatures. (And I'd never freeze one for a bug collection ~ unless I found a dead one. Some things are just too beautiful.)

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