Back to Nature (Published on TBNWeekly.com - Oct. 4, 2006)
Keep the cut flowers a moth would be
Yes, I love the romantic gift of flowers, and oh I adore chocolate, and what girl
can resist dazzling jewelry, but unlike most women Im also elated when gifted
a deceased bird (in no decomposed condition), a wing, a jar with jewel-like insect,
a handful of freshly picked wildflowers, bleached bones, snake skins, seed pods, or
|Photo by Rick Tremmel
|The giant silk moth, Antheraea
One evening after I arrived home from work, my stepson, Alex met me at the garage
door with a big smile, I have a present for you. He was tugging at my
arm as I put down my books and purse upon the table. I knew this had to be
something special. He guided me into his room pointing to his rock collection box.
Ummm, I thought, a new rock. But then he cautioned, Open the box carefully.
Its still alive, grinning even larger. Carefully I peaked in.
There inside was a large, brown moth with furry body, beautiful eyespots on the
two hind wings and magnificent antennae. We brought out our guide books and were
fascinated to discover that this moths common name is: giant silk moth.
Where did you find this, Alex? I inquired.
It was fluttering around the lights at work and then landed. I had quite the
time catching it, while being careful not to harm it, he noted.
We discovered that the bright green, silver spotted, 3- to 4-inch, giant silk moth
caterpillar wraps itself within a curled, dried leaf and then spins a large, silk
cocoon. Once the cocoon hardens the caterpillar remains inside for a full season,
spring to fall or fall to spring, before emerging into this most handsome moth. The
large eyespots of the moth serve as protection, appearing like owl eyes to frighten
away predators. The undersides of this moths wings look like dead leaves,
enabling the moth camouflage.
Unfortunately, the giant silk moth is decreasing in numbers. Squirrels are likely
predators consuming the pupae of giant silk moths, as well, are parasitic insects
such as wasps and flies. These insects lay eggs upon or within the caterpillars of
the giant silk moth then hatch to feed upon the caterpillars insides.
The giant silk moth, Antheraea polyphemus, is nocturnal. It hunts its prey
naturally by moonlight, but also may be distracted and found near unnatural lighted
areas. It lives in broadleaf woods, citrus orchards and sometimes can be found
around parks and swamps.
Do you like it? Alex inquired. Yes! my beaming smile told
all. What better present could I receive? A lot of thoughtfulness, care and joy
went into bringing this spectacular moth home for me. Ladies, keep the store bought
flowers for yourselves. Give me a giant silk moth brought home with a smile any day
well, maybe with a wee bit of chocolate too, OK, hint hint
Karen can be reached at MyMuddyPawsStudio@gmail.com.