Monday, June 25, 2007

Two Perspectives on a Moth

Polyphemus Moth - Antheraea polyphemus

This Polyphemus moth showed up under our porch light a couple of weeks ago. At first, it insisted upon keeping its wings folded. I took a few photos, but kept hoping it would unfold its wings so I could get a few shots of those cool eye spots. With a wingspan of around 4", the Polyphemus is the largest, and in some ways most impressive, moth in our neck of the woods. I wanted to take some photos showing all of it's features.

On my next trip outside, my wish had been granted. The polyphemus was down on the porch deck with open wings. However, the open wings revealed a moth that had been around for a while. They were faded, scratched and tattered. "So what?" thought I. It's still a grand moth and deserves to have its picture taken, a visual metaphor for faded glory, perhaps.

On a still later trip to see what insects the porch light had attracted, I found that the nesting phoebe with whom we're currently sharing the porch wasn't into metaphors. To her the polyphemus was a concrete example of a super-sized chunk of protein.

That's life in the food chain, I reckon.

More information on Polyphemus Moths at BugGuide.