Very Cool Imperial Moth

Yesterday evening when I was walking up our front steps, I saw something strange looking hanging on the side of one of the steps.

At first it looked like just a blob to me, but when I looked closer I thought it was some kind of an insect, but a very weird looking one.

After studying it for a few minutes, I began to think it might be a moth, but I had never seen one like that. I have raised Monarch butterflies for a couple of years now, so I’ve seen them hatch out from their chrysalis and their wings are folded up and their body is fat with fluids. The Monarch slowly pumps the fluid into their folded up wings and they slowly expand to look like the butterfly wings you would normally see. I started thinking the wrinkly blob part might be wings from a newly hatched moth.

Our family has a lot of interest in plants and butterflies/moths and other wild animals, so I sent a text with pictures to some of our kids to see if they knew what it was. Sure enough, our daughter-in-law thought it might be an Imperial moth. After doing a little research online, I think she is right. They can have over 6″ wingspan so they aren’t exactly little moths! One of the types of host plants that they like are maple trees and there is a maple tree right above the steps we found this guy hanging on. I watched him and waited for a while and I was finally rewarded by seeing his wings expand! (I’m saying “he” but I have no idea if it’s a male or female.)

He was so cool looking!

I watched and waited a while longer and he finally opened his wings up part way!

It was starting to get dark by this time and even though I kept checking on him, I didn’t get to see him open his wings all the way. But the wind was blowing and I got a picture of him that lets you see underneath to where there is another part of his wings.

Look at this picture I found online of an Imperial moth. It looks very much like a leaf in the Fall!

I’m rather sad to say that he was gone this morning when we went outside. But what a neat experience! So keep your eyes open when you are outside because you might just see something new and interesting like an Imperial moth! 🙂

If you would like to read more about the Imperial moth, here’s a nice article from Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eacles_imperialis

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