UltraRodimus's avatar

Visit from a Fairy

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By UltraRodimus   |   
© 2013 - 2020 UltraRodimus
...Okay, not a real fairy. But close enough!

This is a male luna moth, Actias luna, and this is the very first one I have ever seen in my life. Where I live used to be slightly too far north for these beauties, but over the last few years they've been making their way into the area. This gorgeous male has a wingspan of 5 inches from tip to tip, and is nearly 8 inches long. Mom and I measured; I very gently poked his wings out to their full spread while she held a ruler on the other side of the door.

I first spotted it about 5:13am this morning, sitting on my neighbors' front door. The temptation to go look was overwhelming, since I'd only ever seen these moths in pictures. But it was way too early, raining, and if I'd been spotted the results would not have been good. We are not on good terms with those particular neighbors (nobody in the neighborhood is, actually). So all I could do was wait and hope they didn't scare it away with all their banging and yelling and door-slamming.

Miracles of miracles, they didn't. After they'd all left for the day, I snuck over to take some pictures. Upon finding the moth a willing poser and seemingly unconcerned about being handled, I coaxed it onto my hand and carried it back to my place so I could get a better look. It spent the rest of the day clinging to my front door, much to the surprise of my mother when she came home from work. She'd noticed it on the neighbors' door but had thought it a paper cutout made by the neighbors' kids. When dad got home he took one look and said "What'd you do, go over and steal it?"

Yes, I did "go over and steal it". It was totally worth all the sneaking around. This moth is gorgeous.
Image size
4320x3240px 1.27 MB
Shutter Speed
10/2500 second
Focal Length
5 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Jun 4, 2013, 3:40:56 PM
Adobe Photoshop 7.0
anonymous's avatar
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RoslynnSommers's avatar
RoslynnSommersHobbyist General Artist
These are absolutely beautiful!
I get moths on my door too, but they're not Luna moths. Mine look like tree bark. :XD: Sadly though, a few days later they die, but they sit on the screen on my front door for those few days unmoving. I try not to disturb them, but they don't seem to care anyway. Maybe they're just waiting out the remainder of their lives. My house is warm after all and it has been colder out.

I love moths. They're very peaceful it seems. :D Unlike butterflies lol, every moth I've ever interacted with was always chill and let me move it out of harms way. Butterflies always freak out lol. :XD:
UltraRodimus's avatar
XD I've had some freaking moths before, especially when I try to move them out of the house the odd time they get inside. Most of them are pretty chill, though. The luna moth was the chillest moth I've ever handled.

I have had some chill butterflies, though, too. The Canadian tiger swallowtail I photographed, also in my gallery here, let me get within two inches of it and stayed perfectly still until an ant ran over its foot and scared it.
CherokeeGal1975's avatar
CherokeeGal1975Hobbyist General Artist
This is a beautiful moth.  Do the really glow in the dark?
UltraRodimus's avatar
No, they don't really glow in the dark. They are gorgeous, though, and the biggest darn moth I've ever seen up close and personal
CherokeeGal1975's avatar
CherokeeGal1975Hobbyist General Artist
I must have been miss informed about them being bioluminescent.  Try looking up Atlas Moths, they are really huge.  I think they are a tropical insect.  You did a nice job on that picture.  The moth was lovely.
UltraRodimus's avatar
The moth was amazingly cooperative. It even let me touch it and spread out its wings and didn't fly away. I've never met such a cooperative moth (though the tiger swallowtail butterfly that let me get within two inches of it to snap a photo comes in a close second).

I've seen pictures of atlas moths ^_^ I would love to see one up close and personal but I'm on the wrong continent. Atlas moths are in Asia
CherokeeGal1975's avatar
CherokeeGal1975Hobbyist General Artist
I didn't know they were in Asia.  Maybe the lunar moths are poisonous or just have a really nasty taste so most predators will leave them alone, so they don't have to be as jumpy.  One method of getting really close to bugs is take a white sheet or even a white shirt or wind breaker and hold it in front of you.  They don't spook as much if you look like a big patch of white light to them.  Or just wear white clothes, that might help too.  
UltraRodimus's avatar
Not sure about the bad taste, but I think luna moths can be as easily startled as any other moth. This one was either drowsy or chilled, as the day on which I found it was overcast and raining. Either way, it seemed very uninclined to budge. I moved it from my neighbor's door to my door, where it was sheltered from the rain by the deck roof. When night came, it went calmly on its way.

Never heard of that trick before.
CherokeeGal1975's avatar
CherokeeGal1975Hobbyist General Artist
I sort of discovered the trick myself based on how light bounces off of things and how bugs react to it.  I also learned that wasps are attracted to black and yellow clothes, but tended to ignore me when I wore dark blue.  I also accidentally discovered that if one eats garlic it works as a repellent for mosquitoes.
UltraRodimus's avatar
Wasps are also attracted if you have food... they want it. Did not know that about color, though. About all I know is that red hats (and hair) attracts hummingbirds
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perusingtaketwo's avatar
perusingtaketwoHobbyist Photographer
so cool - always wanted to see one. Thank you for stealing him haha
UltraRodimus's avatar
^_^Stealing that pretty moth was one thing I absolutely do not regret
alteride's avatar
alterideProfessional General Artist
5 inches wingspan and 8" long ? OO not only is it gorgeous, it's HUGE!! XD No offense meant to fairies, but they stand no chance. he's too beautiful.
Maybe he was a lil' cold ? since your place was slightly too far north and their arrival is recent. Would explain him being so docile. That or he "felt the love" :aww:

I got visited by a very fluffy "Hemaris fuciformis" afew days ago [link] Incredible translucent wings :aww:
UltraRodimus's avatar
One of the biggest moths on this continent ^^ And one of the rarest to see, since they only live for a week. Might have been a little cold; it was overcast and rainy that day. Either way, he was a very obliging model and didn't seem to mind being touched.
ProgrammedPaints's avatar
Ah, it's my favourite moth. It's so pretty.
UltraRodimus's avatar
^_^ It's very pretty
Slothimus-Prima's avatar
Slothimus-PrimaHobbyist General Artist
Cy the Moth thief
UltraRodimus's avatar
Slothimus-Prima's avatar
Slothimus-PrimaHobbyist General Artist
Lady-Of-Ice-Chaos's avatar
that is amazing sweetie!
CeruleanBlaze's avatar
CeruleanBlazeProfessional Traditional Artist
This is definitely my favourite kind of moth, ever. :D
UltraRodimus's avatar
^_^ I love them, too. This is the first time I've ever seen a real one, and I was on cloud nine all day because of that
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