Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Get a ruler. I'll wait.

OK, get a ruler. Go on. I'll wait.
LAlalalalalalaLa, etc.......................................

OK, got a ruler?
Now, measure 6" across. That's a half a foot, right?
About the size of, well........... what you see pictured below.
OK, now, imagine my surprise when I looked up at the rafters of the open roof covering our rear patio.
There, resting on a rafter, was the largest moth that I've ever seen. It looked rather drab and brown, until I photographed it with the flash. The colors exploded.
At first I thought it was a lunar moth, but I looked that up and that wasn't it. In fact, I couldn't find anything that looked even remotely like it in any book that we had or on the internet. Quite honestly, after about 4-5 days, I kind of removed it from my list of important things to ponder. Then, I received an email blurb from Tohono Chul Park (that's where used to Monica worked) and in the blurb was a photo of exactly what I had seen.
It turns out to have been a black witch moth, the largest moth found in North America. This one must have been returning to Mexico and Central America. They are nocturnal and normally will rest during the day and then fly off on their journey at dusk. They're so large that they're often mistaken for bats.
So, how do I know this was 6" across? Why, I took out a ruler and measured it.......during the daytime of course. Almost exactly 6". I understand that they can grow to 7"-8" across, especially the females. This one is a male. You can tell because it lacks a white band across the middle of it's back and wing span.

Well, I was amazed.
And I wanted to share it with you.