Underwing Musings

Last night I was about to turn in. I was outside, sitting in a lawn chair and reading a Kate Atkinson novel under a yellow bug-light.

A medium sized moth wandered by and it intrigued me with its coloration. I grabbed a handy cottage cheese container, captured the insect, and went to bed.

Today I gingerly peered into the container. The moth was sulking in a corner and wouldn’t make eye contact with me. I tipped the moth out of the container and went inside to fetch my camera.

By the time I got back the moth had revived and spread its wings. Such patterns on its wings! I snapped this photo as the moth valiantly tried to ignore me:


As I watched this moth try to figure out what was going on I heard a still small voice in my head:

“More human meddling! My ancestors came to this canyon from Mexico soon after the last uplift, back when you busy primates were winkling grubs from hollow logs, mating indiscriminately, even with other primate species, and eating each other when such opportunities arose. We’ll still be here when when your species has squandered the opportunities you have been given and begin to suffer an extinction which all arthropods are patiently awaiting. Oh, I should except the bedbugs and cockroaches, they will miss you! And the blackflies of the North will be desolate.”

I thought “Well, this might be true, but I have some short-term motivations. I’d like one more photo; perhaps a frontal view which shows those distinctive red leg-ruffs?”

“Well, I can’t stop you, but do you have to put photos of me on Facebook? My peers will make fun of me, I’m afraid!”

“I’ll put a link to a separate blog-post — how about that?”

“Humph! I don’t even know why I’m even bothering to talk with you…”



5 comments on “Underwing Musings

  1. Rain Trueax says:

    a beauty and great conversationalist 🙂

  2. bev says:

    Enjoyed the conversation as well. Beautiful photos of a moth I have never seen (but would like to someday) – Arachnis aulaea – most probably. I’m leaving the ID here so that we’ll know what it is for future reference.

  3. Marian kay says:

    Hi Larry – What a beautful moth and what a great story teller he or she is ! marian

  4. Leslie says:

    I enjoyed this, Larry, i’ve never seen a moth like that. So i have to ask – was the book “Life after Life”? Loved it.

    • Larry Ayers says:

      I also loved “Life After Life”, but when I wrote the post I was reading the the second novel in the Jackson Brodie series, “One Good Turn”. Atkinson is an amazing writer!

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