WC’s First Insect Post

WC’s late friend, Ken Philip, an avid lepidopterist, once accused WC of neglecting 90% of the animals on the planet by focusing on birds. It’s true. Insects, of course, represent by far most of the animals on the planet, some 6 to 12 million species. So now, 3,000 plus blog posts along, WC will finally publish a blog post on an insect.

WC returned from a fireworks display in downtown McCall, Idaho, and found this handsome rascal on the front porch of Mrs. WC’s family cabin.

Columbia Silk Moth, Hyalophora columbia, Payette Lake, Idaho

Columbia Silk Moth, Hyalophora columbia, Payette Lake, Idaho

It’s a Columbia Sillk Moth. It was Mrs. WC, of course, through her social media network, who tracked down the I.D. It’s a big bug; those are 5.5 inch deck planks. The wing span was pretty close to 4 inches. It may have been stunned by collisions with the porch light; it certainly had no business being where it was. Silk moths, in their adult stage, don’t eat. They don’t even have mouths. They find a mate, lay eggs and die. Which strikes WC as kind of a limited life style. Although some of WC’s undergraduate fraternity boy acquaintances seemed to aspire to nothing more.

McCall would be near the western limit of this species’ range. It’s completely new to WC. In a way, the moth was more spectacular than the fireworks display earlier. And certainly easier to photograph.

Ken Philip studied butterflies. He collected an occasional moth, but regarded moths as second class insects. “You can’t even tell the gender without a microscope,” he told WC one time. But WC thinks even Ken would have been impressed with this moth, so this blog post is dedicated to his memory.