The day before yesterday, a lovely female polyphemus moth hatched out, from this June’s rearing. They had been taking so long that I was beginning to worry they would not hatch until spring, but I think they were just waiting for cooler temperatures. I put her in the little suet feeder cage and put her on top of a very tall pole, but she didn’t receive any gentleman callers. Because it was so hot, I put her back inside near a window, and tried again last night.
This is what I saw when I looked out of the garage this morning – success!
The male is hanging on to the outside of the cage, mating with her through the bars.
He’s a big, handsome thing – love the pink-to-purple shading on his wings. They should make pretty babies. When I took the cage down, he flew off to find a place to hide for the day and heal his broken heart before seeking a new romance this evening. I put her into a paper bag, where she will lay her eggs.
And, as I was looking at them, I saw a fluttering in the side yard – my brain said “Swallowtail butterfly,” but it was a late-flying Luna moth! He’s lost some scales, but no wing bits. I tried tossing him up in the air so that he could fly into the woods and avoid being a cat toy – he wasn’t very bright about it, but eventually got over the fence after several tries.