On this evening's hike, we were so excited to see a luna moth (Actias luna) clinging to a fence just above the overlook on the North Rim. I've never seen this moth before, and it's one of the largest in North America. From the Wikipedia page, some fun facts:
- Here in New York, they produce just 2 generations each year: first in April or May, and then again 9-11 weeks later. Since it's May 31, this one got it in just under the wire.
- After their larval and pupal stages, they live only a week as adults! This makes them a rarity to see.
- Adults do not have mouths, and they don't eat. The exist solely to mate (ahem).
- Those fancy tails on their wings are meant to be expanded when they're attacked by bats. It confuses the bats, and therefore is a survival mechanism. Very, very cool.