The other morning I had the pleasure of finding a female Cecropia Moth hanging out on my garage door. These moths are among the largest in North America, up there with Luna and Polyphemus. This one’s wing span was just over 4 inches. It was as fuzzy as a teddy bear.

One of the most interesting things about this (and other silkworm moths that I learned) is that it doesn’t eat once it reaches this adult stage. It doesn’t even have mouth parts. Its only purpose is to mate, and it has about 2 weeks to do so, then game over.

I gently brought it inside to my light tent set up in my office. They only fly at night, so I figured it was safer in there then on my garage door. It obliged in opening its wings for me during a short photoshoot, which was quite lovely (although I suspect it felt as though it was being its most terrifying self).

Just after dusk fell, my soon-to-be 6 year old son assisted me in returning her to the “wilds” of our backyard. It was wonderful to stand there with him, moth as big as his hand perched on his outstretched finger, and then without a sound it fluttered off into the darkening woods.

Cecopria Moth