Terrence Thompson's Photography

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Visiting Critters

I caught this fellow strolling through the garden one afternoon.

We feed squirrels cob corn in the winter to keep from digging up and eating bulbs. It works sometimes. The design of this squirrel feeder makes squirrels stretch for their food. We call this the "Squirrel Activity Center."

 

I found a strange silk-covered, thumb-size ball on the ground one spring as I raked mulch. It looked like a moth or butterfly chrysalis but I couldn't understand why it was in the mulch. I tore off the silk and found a large brown oval inside that wiggled when the oval was touched.  So we put it in a large jar to see what would happen.

Several weeks later to our astonishment we found a Luna month flopping around in the bottom of the jar.  I put a stick into the jar and the Luna moth climbed up to dry out its wings.  We learned that the larva of the Luna feeds on walnut tree leaves and drops to the ground where it hides among fallen leaves and spins its chrysalis.

The moth is one of the largest, with a wing span of up to four inches. It does not feed during its about two week life span as a moth and simply lives to mate. It is a nocturnal critter, which explains why we don't see many even though they are consider wide spread in Missouri. I wish I could say that this moth met his/her mate but we apparently rescued it from the garden too early in the season. It died in the jar.