Reader Charlie Jones from the University of Pittsburgh sent several pictures of a gorgeous Cecropia “silkmoth” (Hyalophora cecropia), first described and named by Linnaeus. Charlie’s notes:
These were taken in June 2008 just northwest of Cody, Wyoming, in Sunlight Valley (part of the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone canyon). I particularly like the last photo that shows what a great plush toy these moths would make for a very small child.
According to Wikipedia, this is North America’s largest native moth, with a wing span up to six inches in females. Its range is in the eastern part of the US, from southern Canada to Florida, and west to the Rocky Mountains.
Note the “eyespots” on the wing above and below, a feature found in many moths and butterflies. Its evolutionary significance, I believe, is still not fully understood. Some say it’s a mimic of vertebrate predator eyes, like those of owls, that can scare away birds who are going after the moths.
Someone should indeed make a plush toy of this moth. Don’t you just want to pet that furry belly?
And reader Diana MacPherson sends photos of her chimpunks, or rather one young chipmunk (Tamias striatus):
A juvenile chipmunk decided to explore everything on my deck this morning including the hummingbird feeder. You can see the sequence I shot with the chipmunk eventually falling off completely. This one climbed all over my screen facing down (I’ve never seen the chipmunks do that) and kept looking in. If I had the door open, I’d be trying to usher the chippy outside right now. I did get decent photo when the chipmunk stood still for a bit, resting with legs draped over the deck.
Oops. . .
On the deck: