I opened my back door yesterday, and look what I found!
How beautiful! I've never seen a moth that color. Despite being the middle of July, it was cool yesterday morning; I think she was waiting to get warmed up. Seth spent the night at my sister's, and Evan was asleep - and believe it or not, didn't want to wake up to see it! Pictures don't convey how magical it was.
Here's a side view. And look at those eggs in the background! I just e-mailed a biologist friend, to see if we can raise those eggs, or if I should just find them a safe place. How cool would it be to have our very own Very Hungry Caterpillar, right in our house?
This gives a sense of scale. Big freakin' moth.
Hi, moth! You're very beautiful. And fuzzy. And big.
UPDATE: I found out this moth is a Royal Walnut Moth. The larval stage, or caterpillar, is called the Hickory Horned Devil.
Uhh... maybe I don't want these in my house. Holy moley.
In my research, I found these moths don't have mouths and don't eat - their sole purpose is to reproduce, lay eggs, and then they die. Which is making me incredibly sad this morning.
Further update: My friend let me know the caterpillars pupate underground, for possibly a year or more! So seeing one through to moth-hood isn't likely. Maybe we can just raise the caterpillars for a bit - if I can get enough leaves! They're HUGE. I'm e-mailing Troy Bartlett - who took the above photo of the Hickory Horned Devil - to get his opinion.