Tuesday, June 17, 2008

An encounter with royalty

I was trudging along this morning when a bright spot of color caught my eye. It was a Royal Walnut Moth, also known as a Regal Moth, lying on the trail with its wings spread, enjoying its last moments of life. This creature is incredibly beautiful. The 2 pics here were the best I could find online, and neither of them do it justice. I'm sure the one I saw was a female because of her size--her wingspan was probably more than 5 inches across. It was tempting to bring her home and photograph her for the blog, but I didn't have the heart to take her, since she was not quite dead. I did put her on a leaf and move her off the trail, just so she wouldn't be stomped by some oblivious hiker. Silly, I know, but I was really touched by her beauty.

Here's what her babies, known as Hickory Horned Devils, will look like when they emerge in late summer. Not so pretty as Mama, but impressive in their own way:

Read a species account of this critter here.

Both pics of the moth are from What's That Bug?
Photo of the larva from hilarynelson.com


chayaruchama said...

So hard to choose...
I love 'em both !

Poor thing, on its last 'wings'.

[I made good, baby. Check your real 'post'mail ! Soon...and let me know what you think.]

Anonymous said...

She's very beautiful, and those babies very exotic.

BitterGrace said...

I was back in that spot today, but no moth mama--I think she made a nice meal for somebody.