Monday, September 14, 2009

Male Imperial Moth

Male Imperial Moth, Dorsal View
Large view

Male Imperial Moth -- Eacles imperialis, Family Saturniidae (Giant Silkworm and Royal Moths).

Male Imperial Moth, Side View
Large view

This one was hanging out at the local strip mall in midafternoon. Its wingspan is about 4 inches (about 100 mm). These moths range in size from a wingspan of 80 to 174 mm (that's an upper limit of almost 7 inches), with females larger than males, according to Bugguide.Net. Ranges across the eastern United States plus Ontario and Quebec. Adults fly from June to August in the north; April to September/October in the southern United States.

Adds, "Imperial Moth caterpillars pupate in earthen chambers. Adults often fly to artificial lights, basking in the illumination until dawn. Many also remain there throughout the day and are eaten by birds, so that the species is unfortunately becoming rare in areas where artificial lights are abundant. Close relatives inhabit Latin America."

Male Imperial Moth, Head-On View
Large view

During my search for an ID, I came across a reference to the Tolkien Studies article, "Sauron, Mount Doom, and Elvish Moths: The Influence of Tolkien on Modern Science." Having watched much of the Lord of the Rings trilogy on TNT yesterday, I thought the timing rather nice.

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[end of entry]


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