Around our evening lights, a dance of moths

July 12, 2014 

Warm summer evenings come with spectacular sunsets, followed by soft air that invites the luna moths and their kin out to enjoy an evening and night of dancing, hypnotized before man’s ever-expanding world of lights. The largest of our relatively common moth, the luna moth comes equipped with wings measuring 4 inches or so across, colored a lovely shade of light green with long tails that extend the creature to one of our largest night flying moths. It is on such warm summer nights that they sometimes appear around porch and street lights and can be seen flailing their delicate wings, as they futilely seek companionship and solace from the lights of man.

The luna moth, though uncommon, is the largest and most spectacular of all our butterfly-like creatures. Moths are mostly night fliers, easily identified by their fan-shaped antenna, projecting like long eyelashes. The luna moth prefers to take guidance from the lunar light, following Diana as she strolls in heavenly beauty toward her midnight throne.

Summers were designed for moths, in the flower gardens at dusk. At this season, sometimes one can confuse the luna moth with the giant sphinx moth, a dusky brown being hovering in the evenings amid the petunias. At first view, either might well appear to be a hummingbird as it uncoils its long tongue, like a beak, that when straightened is able to reach deep into the flower’s dark hidden nectar sac and sip of the ambrosia within.

What most of us fail to connect is that these, the most pleasing of nature’s works of art, began their life voyage as the big, ugly, yellow bristled green worm of garden fame. That same one makes an incredible transformation from the ugly role of pestiferous beast to the most beautiful of all, winging away the summer at the garden ball.

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