I have a large and less than tidy yard and garden. Most of it is “yard,” by which I mean that I haven’t altered it (which is what I do in my garden). There is a lot that goes on here that I don’t know about until I stumble upon it. Last September, I wrote about all the caterpillars that I discovered once I actually looked for them.
|A side view|
Two months later, during National Moth Week in late-July, a huge moth emerged during the night. It was a Polyphemus moth (Antheraea polyphemus), a type of silk moth. I researched and found that it doesn’t feed as an adult. It mates during the evening so I decided to keep it in the cage during the day. It sat there quietly all day, showing no interest in leaving (unlike the spicebush swallowtail that emerged that day and couldn’t wait to find some flowers).
I left the cage door open that night for her (by this time I had examined the antenna more closely and determined that it was a female). In the morning, she was still there so obviously no suitor had come by. I closed the cage again and she stayed quietly again all day.
|The polyphemus moth|
That evening, I pulled the twig she was on (which was stuck in a pot) just outside the cage a little. My husband checked on her around 3 am and she was still there, but when I got up at 6:45 am, she was gone. I hope she laid more eggs in my oak trees (one of their host plants). I’d sure like to have more of those surprises. I'm sure they're out there.
|A rough indication of size|