Nature: Butterflies and Moths

Luna Moth 月形天蚕蛾 (Family Saturnidae, Silk Moths)

Where the moonlight sends its liquid rays through the leaves of night and the scents of honeysuckle and thyme, sweet gum and mint and evening primrose fill the air with perfumed magic, there comes on the warm waves of the summer air a winged creature more fairy-like than any other that dwell in the woods. In fact, you can well imagine stories of fairies arising because of people seeing Luna Moths in their nightly wanderings. When the moonlight strikes a Luna it seems to glow as with fire, the white body a gem of light, the green wings shining like emeralds and the red feathery antennae and red eyes like gleaming bits of fire opal or ruby. The Luna is a creature of utter grace, wafting sometimes slowly through the air with the mysterious silence of a green ghost, other times suddenly flashing its wings like bright swords as it flies at great speed out of the depths of a dark canyon. It is found over most of the cast and as far west as Texas and the Great Plains.

The caterpillar is large, green, and marked with bright lines and dots, many tiny hairs arising from the light marks on its back. They love to feed on persimmon, sweet-gum, hickory and walnut. In the early fall, the thin and papery cocoon is spun among the leaves of trees but falls with them to the ground when the winds of winter come. Hidden among the dead leaves it waits in long sleep until the warm touch of spring brings forth from its silence the glory of the great moth.

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