Moths Come to Visit


Recently I happened to find a pair of luna moths (Actias luna) at the tennis courts across the street from where I live. One was flying through the air, and the other was resting languidly on the pavement. I was very careful not to disturb either of them, but I knew I wouldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t get a few decent photos, which I promptly did. These are my favorites.

The moths themselves are becoming increasingly scarce in this region, and their appearances are becoming equally scarce as a result. This is accentuated by the fact that their adult lives are so ephemeral, extending to roughly one week before they exhaust themselves from lack of food and die. (As with all moths, they cannot eat; they survive by drinking nectar through their proboscises.) The moths in front of me were unperturbed by this fact, flying and resting as they liked. And as I walked back across the street, I couldn’t help thinking how similarly ephemeral our human lives are and how similarly oblivious we are to the fact.

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18 thoughts on “Moths Come to Visit

  1. Firewaves21 July 22, 2016 / 5:20 am

    That’s the most beautiful moth I have ever seen. Great shots.

    • Mark Miles July 28, 2016 / 4:15 am

      Thank you! They don’t show up often, so it was a treat to see them.

  2. Vicki Winslow August 8, 2016 / 1:05 pm

    I grew up reading my father’s old copy of “The Girl of the Limberlost,” still one of my all-time favorites. The main character, Elnora, collects moths and butterflies, and the Luna was one of her favorites. This one is spectacular,

    • Mark Miles August 22, 2016 / 4:10 am

      I haven’t read that one, but thank you for for recommending it. And I too love to collect moths, but I let them die in their own time first.

  3. Dirt Road Wife August 14, 2016 / 1:47 am

    I’ve never seen one of those before. What a treat. And I love the commentary as well. Beautiful creatures!

    • Mark Miles August 22, 2016 / 4:15 am

      Thank you so much! They’re not as common the southeast US (where I live) as they used to be, but they’re always great to see.

  4. fineartstation August 18, 2016 / 8:48 pm

    Thanks for sharing – they are amazing and I really liked your thinking re their obliviousness – an ours.

    • Mark Miles August 22, 2016 / 4:21 am

      Thank you so much. I’m often tempted to think the moths aren’t nearly as oblivious as most humans. Glad this resonated with you.

  5. Jazz Jaeschke August 31, 2016 / 11:56 am

    Thank you for sharing your encounter – I was in NC in June and in July read Robert Beatty’s “Serafrina” books (fiction based at Biltmore) one of which touched on the luna moth. I did not realize their numbers were declining – very sad – great that you shared these images.

    • Mark Miles September 5, 2016 / 3:05 am

      Thank you so much. I’ve been enamored with luna moths since I was a kid, so it was only natural for me to write about them. 👍

  6. chungwipff September 6, 2016 / 12:41 pm

    Beautiful photos and great blog. Thank you.

    • Mark Miles September 12, 2016 / 3:58 am

      Thank you so much, and you’re most welcome.

  7. Ross Gardner September 6, 2016 / 4:17 pm

    Great moth. Not too many like that in the UK.

    • Mark Miles September 12, 2016 / 3:59 am

      Thank you. Unfortunately there aren’t as many here as there used to be in years past.

  8. Mina Marial Nicoli September 25, 2016 / 6:07 am

    Somehow, moth season never came this year in Colorado. It’s usually really bad – we get swarms and swarms of them, and there are specific kinds of birds that follow them in their migration, continually feasting on them. This year, neither seemed to arrive.

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