Monday, April 20, 2009

Rediscovering Luna #1

He's not dead, and the dog did NOT have a mothy midnight snack early this morning. Luna #1 alive and well! The girls were watching TV a bit ago when they started shouting, "We found the other luna moth!" as the moth flew around in our living room. Thankfully, the girls had received butterfly nets for their birthdays last week, so we grabbed them and managed to catch the moth and return him to the terrarium.

This is when we discovered how he made his escape: as soon as we replaced him inside his "home," he flew straight to the bottom of the terrarium and wriggled his way out of the bottom edges of the screening secured only with one tie on each side of the square bottom. We caught him again and put him back. This time Steve and I tucked the loose edges of the screening under the wooden frame, hoping this would prevent the moth from escaping a third time. Amazingly, he did make an attempt, beating his now-frayed wings frantically around the bottom perimeter of the terrarium looking for an exit route. How does he remember where to go? His brain must be the size of a grain of rice, as I learned from this article.

I wondered if Luna #1 would take notice of Luna #2 when they were together in the terrarium, but they seem completely unaware of each other. The new male moth is quite calm. He flew for the first time about 30 minutes ago only to rest on in a new corner of the cage. The older moth is frantic, flapping his wings noisily about. He probably knows his days are numbered (adults only live for a week or so). I'm sure he's desperate to find a mate. I'd release him outdoors, but it's too cold up here in Southeast Wisconsin, and he'll never find a mate around here this time of year. Our Lunas eclose only once a year, in mid-June. He's better off in the terrarium waiting for his future mates to eclose. Hope we get a female or two soon!

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