Surprising Beauty in an Unexpected Place

We were cleaning up some brush and scrap wood behind the barn today, hauling it out to the burn pile.  I was stopped in my tracks when I spotted this amazing caterpillar.  It was huge, the size of my index finger, with a beautiful red-orange back and green underside.  A little research helped confirm my suspicion that, simply because of its size it might be a luna moth caterpillar.  At first I thought I was wrong because all the specimens in photos I found on-line were green.  Then I found a photo here that looks just like the one I found.  Perhaps they turn orange when it is time for them to make their cocoon.  This one was definitely leaving a silk trail.

Isn’t it beautiful?  Luna moths are so distinctive with their large size and lovely green wings.  I’ve seen quite a few of them but have never been blessed to see the larval stage.  As tempting as it was to keep it in a jar to watch it spin its cocoon and witness its transformation, I let it go.  I hope it found a comfortable and safe place to rest and find its wings.

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1 Response to “Surprising Beauty in an Unexpected Place”


  1. 1 Patricia Jane August 28, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    That is INCREDIBLE!!! My daughter had a luna moth (the butterfly) actually come INTO her bead shop a few weeks ago. He rested awhile on a display, then fluttered back out the door. I thought it was definitely a sign of good luck or something equally wonderful. I’m sure your luna will be safe and maybe you’ll see him flying sometime!


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