Winged things

August? Really? Must it be so? Can’t we simply step back to, oh, late June and have a redo? I am completely and utterly unprepared for this month to begin. But if it must be August, it must.

This summer, along with being marrow-suckingly dry, has been the summer of Luna Moths for us. I’ve not seen a live adult this year. That’s not a surprise. They fly late at night, midnight or so, and I’m never up to watch for them. I did find a pair of wings though, left beneath a tree. Something had had the tasty parts of the moth for dinner, and I was grateful for the chance to examine the remains. Luna Moths are big. Not as large as some of the other members of Saturniidae, but big compared to what usually taps at the window late at night. The wings were beautiful, and strong, more rigid than I expected. Had I not known what they came from, I would have been content to imagine them a pair of discarded fairy wings.

Their caterpillars are something else entirely. By their final stage of development, they are massive. Brilliant green, at least as long as my middle finger, at least as thick as well. They make The Very Hungry Caterpillar look like a slacker. I’d been looking at Monarch caterpillars before I came across a Luna Moth caterpillar yesterday, and as impressive as they are this time of year, they looked a little shabby in comparison.

And that, I think, is more than enough on caterpillars for the moment. Much as I don’t want it to be August, I’m looking forward to watching the Monarchs in the goldenrod outside my window in a few more weeks.

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