Left: Luna Moths, Actias luna, courtship at sunset. Center: a bizarre and
wonderful Citheronia regalis caterpillar, as large as a hot dog in blue and green.
Right, Regal Walnut Moth courtship, Citheronia regalis
Saturniid Moths are spectacular and nocturnal. These intriguing and beautiful creatures spend their early life munching away in the crowns of NATIVE trees as large caterpillars. We humans aren't generally going to see these animals until they meander down the tree's trunk in the fall to pupate. Some species, like the Regal Walnut moth, burrow and overwinter in the ground as pupae. Others, such as the Polyphemus Moth and the Luna Moth, spin cocoons low to the ground attached to shrubs or in the leaf litter. When the moths emerge in the spring with their glorious wings and markings, they only live for about two weeks. Adult Saturniid moths have no mouth. They cannot eat. Their amazing and fragile bodies are made only for creating new lives and carrying the precious eggs into the top of the next season's tree crown.
Where life begins again.
Above, an Emperor Moth, Eacles imperialis.