Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lovely Luna Moth

Once you get over the shock, it's quite a pleasure to watch a Luna Moth unfurl from its cocoon.  Even here in the wilds of the Texas Gulf Coast, a huge green moth is unusual.  The Luna, even more so, because it usually flies at night, in search of a mate.  It takes a few hours for the moth to take its final form.  When it first emerges from the cocoon, its wings are small, nothing at all like the 4" wingspan it eventually attains.

Almost done!

The adult Luna lives less than a week, and does not even eat, lacking a mouth.  It lives only to mate, and then passes on to its reward.  This moth hatched from a cocoon very near a sweetgum tree, a host plant for Luna larvae.  I'll keep my eye out for the next generation!

Long hindwings not yet unfolded...
Unfolded, but needs to dry a bit more


  1. This is beautiful, Elizabeth. It's rare to get a chance to see this. I've seen a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis but it was already at the final stage. It's strange that these moths don't eat at all and yet manage to get the energy to grow and fly around.

  2. What a privilege to watch such a beautiful creature emerge! You remind me I need to check on the egg sac my Argiope spider left behind.

  3. Elisabeth,
    I came across your blog while searching Google for some images of a "big green bug", which lead me to Luna Moth images, which again lead me to your blog. Last night we were sitting out on our patio when I realized a huge green insect with a wing span of about 4inches. We had never seen anything like that in our backyard and are not very familiar with insect identifications. The picture you have posted is exactly the "monster bug" that was resting on the outside screen of our living room window. We are living just north of Houston in Spring.
    Well, it seems I did not just find the information I was looking for, I also found a really nice new Texas gardening blog. I am very passionate about my backyard myself.
    Thanks for providing the great info about the Luna Moth - I learned something new and won't get shocked next time I might see one.
    Best Regards and Happy Gardening
    Paula Jo