Our friend, the Moth Whisperer, went away for the weekend and came home to an unexpected event. Several of the Luna Moths (Actias luna) had hatched. He had not expected this because he thought they might winter over and hatch next Spring. We had visited him while he was tending the hundred plus little caterpillars earlier this summer.
When he got home late last night one of the moths was hiding behind a map that was loosely attached to the wall above his work area. He called at noon today to invite us over this evening to meet the 4 who had hatched. He intends to release them late tonight. When we got there 2 more had hatched – a total of 5 males and 1 female. One was still drying as it clung awkwardly to the wire columns where they all were resting.
This one posed briefly on this branch. Most of our images are on wire – not very natural but still amazing to see. The amount and angle of light changed the green – sometimes more yellow and sometimes more blue. The female seemed more blue. However, this male’s color changed with the flash distance, power and angle in these two images. Another example of how color is rendered in differing conditions. There is a one stop difference between the fill flash setting for these two images. We used reduced power on our flashes and the little Rogue flash flags to direct and soften the light.
The bottoms of two large ice cream tubs are covered with Luna Moth cocoons – some wrapped in leaves and others gray and fluffy. The wire screen columns surround the tubs waiting for more to hatch and climb up to dry and then try their wings before going into the wide world outside.
Caterpillars of two more moth species are munching away in their containers and we hope they will cocoon and hatch at times we can visit the newly hatched adults.