When people think of moths, they often think of the butterfly’s drab cousin or the annoying pests who gnaw on their wool. They may not realize that Albert County is home to some spectacular moths.
While this list is by no means definitive, I’d like to introduce you to three of my favourite moths: the Rosy Maple moth, the Cecropia moth, and the Luna moth.
We have several maples surrounding our house on Caledonia Mountain and we most often see Rosy Maple moths clinging to our window screens. Rosy Maple moths are nocturnal, like most moths, so they sleep during the day. Their preferred sleeping position includes a pair of their fuzzy pink legs sticking up past their heads, which my kids love because it makes the moths look like a caped superhero flying to someone’s rescue.
Because of the Cecropia’s size, it can be startling if one flies close or lands on you, especially at night, but they’re harmless. They emerge from their cocoons with no mouths and can’t bite. Unfortunately, this also means their life as an adult moth (as opposed to caterpillar) is only a few weeks long.
Lastly, there’s the beautiful Luna moth. Like the other two moths in this article, Lunas don’t have a stomach or a mouth as an adult moth. They live for only about a week in this form. Unlike the Cecropia, we get a few generations of Luna moths per year, giving us more chances to see Luna moths in the wild. Luna moths have beautiful, trailing hindwings which gives them a distinctive look, but they’re not there for decoration. When Lunas fly at night, those trailing wingtips can throw off a bat’s echolocation and help the Luna moth avoid becoming dinner.
If you’d like to see moths for yourself, take a walk around your house during the day and keep your eyes open for patterns like the ones you see in the pictures. Since moths are attracted to light, the bushes and plants underneath a dusk-till-dawn or security light are great places to find different species waiting for nightfall. The internet is a wonderful tool to help identify the species you find around your yard.
Images by Jennifer Shelby.
Jennifer Shelby is an SFF [Science Fiction & Fantasy] writer and moth enthusiast who lives on Caledonia Mountain. She hunts for stories in the beetled undergrowth of fairy-infested Acadian forests and fishes for them in the dark space between the stars. If you’d like to know more about her ongoing catch-and-release program, you can find her on twitter @jenniferdshelby or at jennifershelby.blog