Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Life Luna! UPDATED with a lullerfly link

I was doodling around in the garden last evening, pulling some of the taller weeds and looking at my plants, when I came practically nose to nose with this:

Click for lunatically large!

I don't recall ever having seen a luna moth before, much less two of them! I tried to look at them from the other side to see if (and how) they were, well, you know--doin' it, but it was too hard to get back there with the corn plants in the way. I don't think these two were mating; they didn't really seem to be touching any of the--er--important parts. Still--what are these moths doing?

Let's look more closely at this amazing moth:

Click for mothmonstrous!


First, I noted that what I thought were just plain old wing eyespots are in fact small holes in the wing, surrounded by differently colored accent cells. Amazing! I suppose such tiny holes in such large wings do not affect flight.

Second, look at those beautiful antennae; they remind me of palm fronds in their complexity. What do moths use their antennae for? I don't really know. Anyone?

What amazing creatures these moths are, as beautiful as butterflies yet classed in the moth family. Here's another question for you lepidoptary-inclined folks out there: what is the difference between moths and butterflies? Is it the eating-nectar thing?

UPDATE: For some incredibly beautiful southern butterflies, check out Troy and Martha's Ramblings Around Texas.

Moving on to my sunflowers: Last year, I had a whole row of mammoth sunflower plants. This year, I just left whatever volunteers that came up. Here's the tallest sunflower plant:

It was pretty late in the evening, so pardon the dark. The flower should bloom within a week or so, I believe.
Here's the plant with its neighbor:
That red arrow indicates my height. I'm 5'1".

30 comments:

Lynne said...

Delia- I am so danged envious! I've NEVER seen a luna moth and I want one.

I didn't know you were so...vertically challenged.

dguzman said...

Lynne: and what are you, 6'4"? Hmph. Anyway--the lunas were amazing! I was so happy.

Texas Travelers said...

Great photos.
I am sooo jealous. When I was a kid, I used to see these occasionally in East Texas. I don't have a photo of one of these beauties.

Thanks for the shout-out link and thanks for the visit and kind words. Martha captured the Mexican Fritillary with her point and shoot camera near Brownsville.

Troy and Martha

KGMom said...

Maybe the holes in the luna moth's wings HELP it fly?
You aren't vertically challenged--I like short people. In fact, my mother was 4' 11"!

Splotchy said...

Fan-freaking-tastic, both the Luna moths (or is it motheses?) and the enormous volunteer Sunflower plant.

DCup said...

I just want to reach out and touch that moth. It look so soft.

Those are amazing photos.

And one big!!!! sunflower. I love sunflowers so much.

Susan Gets Native said...

I think those moths were just engaging in some good old fashioned ** (number between 68 and 70)

(I don't know how G rated you want your blog to be....hee hee.)
I told you I was sick.

Rabbits' Guy said...

What a grand bunch of posts about the camping and MA NAture doing her thing! Thanks ...

I leave lots of volunteers here and there too ... but no mammoth THAT mammoth! Always fun to see what prospered.

NCmountainwoman said...

Lovely photographs of the Luna. And perhaps a record-breaking sunflower. Thanks

dguzman said...

TXTravelers--Hope you see one soon; feel free to borrow my photo if you need it!

KGMom--well, I believe in evolution, so you're probably right; otherwise, those holes wouldn't be there! But WHY are they there, I wonder? I'm not short--I'm just not tall.:)

Splotch--that is now the official plural of moth: "motheses." I love it!

Dcup--me too, on both counts.

SUSAN--My goodness! I only work blue on my other bloggy.

Rabbits Guy--I'm glad you've enjoyed the posts.

NCMtnWoman--the ones last year were pretty tall too, but I think you're right--this is the tallest one I've seen. You can bet I'll harvest some seeds off the flower for next year!

Angry Ballerina said...

Holy fuck! Those things are neat! And could your pictures get any bigger?

Geoff Williams said...

Delia, there's a new magazine out that you might be interested in...go look at my blog.

;)

Susan Gets Native said...

Whoops. That was me, not Geoff.

Earl Cootie said...

That is the coolest thing ever! Gad, I would love to see a luna moth! Beautiful photos.

dguzman said...

Angry--hee hee! they're mothstrosities! I crack myself up!

Geoff--I mean Susan--you weirdo. I have a bad feeling about this....

Earl--do they have lunas out there?

Mary said...

Delia, I saw my first Luna Moth last summer and I was flabbergasted too! Enormous! And, this one was apparently sleeping when I touched it which set off a little engine in its body - it rumbled like an idling funny car. I didn't know it was secreting poison at that time...

Yikes!

I'm also 5-1. Can reach a damned thing.

Bubs said...

Luna moths are wondrous aren't they?!

The only time we've ever seen one was on a night hike at Mississippi Palisades State Park in Savanna, IL a few years ago. It landed right on my bride on the trail. Then we saw another one on the screen of the women's latrine.

Haven't ever seen one before or since.

dguzman said...

Mary--it makes a noise? and it secretes POISON???? Holy moly! I'm glad I didn't touch them!

Bubs--it took me 43 years to see one.

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