Hatching a marvel

And then there was the Ceanothus Silk Moth (Hyalophora euryalus).

I was sooooooo happy when she hatched, and so astonished. Isn’t she gorgeous? (She is a she, I looked it up; the males have much fatter, frillier antennae.)

(They have pretty cool caterpillars, too, though I’ve never seen one. I would have remembered something that looked like that!)

It was all very exciting. I got up early in the morning, glanced out the kitchen window, and suddenly coffee was forgotten. It wasn’t quite full light, but I could see there was something there.

Ceanothus silk moth
Something HATCHED!

She was pretty sluggish, so I tipped her very, very gently out of the jar and onto the screening that had been over it, so she had something to cling to, as she couldn’t get a grip on the glass.

Ceanothus silk moth
Lookout that ENORMOUS fuzzy butt!

And that set off such a flurry of picture taking. I didn’t do anything else for oh, at least an hour, probably longer than that. I went totally loco paparazzi about the whole thing. She sat very quietly and after a bit began gently stretching her wings (there’s a rear view of this in the video I’ve put at the end of the post).

She sat for a bit and stretched her wings more, then rested, then stretched. I took pictures. Eventually I convinced her to get on my hand, where she sat and stretched, rested, stretched, rested… and then her wings started trembling, a very fast vibration. (My reading tells me this is necessary to stimulate the metabolism so they can fly.) Then stretch, rest, tremble, over and over, while I watched in fascination. Then she suddenly crawled to a higher spot on my hand and flew away. Off toward the area I’d found her in, actually.

Ceanothus silk moth
I will just point out that this kind of moth is big. Really, really big. I could feel the weight of her.

I feel so extraordinarily lucky. Enjoy the gallery I chose from the enormous number of pictures I took, and the video:

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