I moved to the Ozarks about a decade ago. I no longer live in the city and have a neighbor 10 feet away. I bought an old farmhouse on 7 acres about 5 miles from town. Close enough to be able to get the things you need to get by, far enough away to see stars at night. My first year was all about learning the rhythms of nature through the seasons. Peepers and whippoorwills start talking in May, tree frogs in June, cicadas in July and August – it all goes quiet again in October.
My first spring here I noticed that if a light was on in a room at night that flying insects would congregate on the windows – sometimes lots of them. If ladybugs get into the house they will hit their shells against the table lamp or TV looking for the light. One night I heard a very loud flutter against the living room window – it sounded like a bird crashed! I heard it again and saw something the color of a tennis ball swirl in the light and heard the window shake. I went outside and thought it might be a great green parakeet or something – but the flight pattern was so circular and random.
The next morning I went outside and saw the culprit – it was a Luna Moth. Now at the time I had no idea what that was – it’s color was amazing, but it was huge, larger than the palm of my hand! It was so beautiful that I watched for it to arrive the next night and it did. It only visited me for a few days and it was gone – until the next spring.
What follows is my photo study of this years visitors. Typically a moth lasts for 10 days and dies. A new generation arrives about 10 days later and after it dies they are gone for the year.
This shot is taken from inside my screen door – their bodies look a lot like the pupae stage of the moth.
Their bodies are covered with scales that look like fur
They vary a bit in size and vividness.
That crazy flight pattern is how the males find the females – those antenna pick up the scent
Their tales flutter wildly when they fly
This shot was taken with a 40 year old Macro lens on a bellows
They eyespots have a translucent center.
This guy got into my house and I was worried he would hurt himself before I got him out the door.
I would leave my porch light on in the day time so that this one would stay.
This one fell off the screen as I tried to close it – he rested on my step for about an hour.
The edges of their wings almost look like woven tapestry to me.
Sometimes the lower wings have a scalloped shape.
This one was smaller than the rest and he stayed perched inside my smaller light fixture on the back porch.
This image was also captured with a manual macro lens and bellows – in it you can see the scale structure clearly.
This is another macro and bellows shot of just the antenna.
So now they are gone. Summer is on it’s way in the Ozarks.