Friday, July 20, 2012

Mothra Attacks!!!

Hey ya'll 

It feels good to be back here writing after my long period of inactivity and I must say that it was dear old Mother Nature who provided me inspiration to write again, this time in the form of a rather strikingly patterned moth of epic proportions. The moth, which was found clinging to the curtains of our kitchen windows turned out to be none-other than the famed Atlas Moth (attacus atlas) which is heralded all around the world in butterfly gardens and exhibits as the "largest moth in the world" for the very fact that it does indeed possess a total wing-surface area greater than any currently known species of butterfly or moth.

My mom, who was present when I found the moth, was quite taken by its sheer size and beauty and consequently quite distraught when she learnt that all giant silk moths (Saturniidae) do not possess mouth parts and therefore cannot feed for their 1-2 weeks of adult life. This, however, prompted her to aid me in my attempts at finding our lovely silk moth a mate. The reproductive role of the female atlas moth is highly passive and due to their gargantuan size, female atlas moths are often rather clumsy and erratic fliers. Therefore, instead of fluttering about haphazardly in search of a mate and expending on valuable fat reserves, the female atlas moth will cling to one location and release pheromones that may be detected by males several kilometers away. By this logic, I reasoned, we may place our female moth in a cage outdoors and hope that her scent would be detected by any male fluttering about in the immediate area. The chances are quite slim, of course, that a male atlas moth would actually be able to follow the scent trail of ours and make it to the outdoor cage but I figured that since these moths do not feed or fly about generally, there really wasn't much harm in trying anyway. 

We fashioned our cage out of an old laundry basket, nailed to a flower pot stand, and placed it in a location outdoors that could both catch the wind, but remain dry in the event of bad weather! I guess there's nothing to do now but hang around... and wait for something to happen!!!

ps. Speaking about moths, do check out this wonderful specimen of Daphnis hypothous that Raymond found for me. 


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