The Antahkarana

September 13, 2007

Big Moths and Little Cats Are People Too

Filed under: Beauty,Bugs,Ecology,Environment,Life,Observations — by Ree @ 11:55 pm

The other day, one of our cats brought a huge moth the size of a baby bird into the house and we found it still alive and fluttering helplessly on the floor. It was so big, I actually thought for a moment that it was a bat. Its wings had great big eyes on them and its body and legs were a beautiful rusty coloured soft fur.

Not THE moth, but similar

Unfortunately, it was too badly hurt to recover and I had to put it out of its misery.  It was hard not to be angry with my cat, because he was only doing what cats do.  He’s actually quite a gentle little soul and really doesn’t bother much with hunting.  The moth probably fluttered down right in front of him and he couldn’t resist it.

Butterflies and moths are finally making a comeback in this area after the disasterous spraying for the gypsy moth that the BC government did several years ago. This particular moth was uncommon and should have had the chance to reproduce.

Some people wouldn’t feel so bad over killing an insect, but I felt horrible.  However, messages come when they are needed. The next day I opened up my email box to this from the Daily OM.

No Wrong Response
Experiences Shape Your Reactions

Our view of the universe is largely determined by our experiences. It is when we are caught off guard by the spontaneity of existence that we are most apt to respond authentically, even when our feelings do not correspond with those of the multitude. Events that arouse strong emotions with us or are surprising in nature can be disquieting, for it often is in their aftermath that we discover how profoundly our histories have shaped us. The differences that divide us from our peers are highlighted in our reactions when these diverge from the mainstream, and this can be highly upsetting because it forces us to confront the uniqueness of our lives.

When our response to unexpected news or startling ideas is not the same as that of the people around us, we may feel driven by a desire to dismiss our feelings as irrational or incorrect. But reactions themselves are neither right, nor wrong. The forces that sculpted the patterns that to a large extent dictate our development are not the same forces that shaped the development of our relatives, friends, colleagues, or neighbors. There is no reason to believe that one person’s reaction to a particular event is somehow more valid than another’s. How we respond to the constant changes taking place in the world around us is a product of our history, a testament to our individuality, and a part of the healing process that allows us to address key elements of our past in a context we can grasp in the present.

Life’s pivotal events can provide you with a way to define yourself as a unique and matchless being, but you must put aside the judgments that might otherwise prevent you from gaining insight into your distinct mode of interpreting the world. Try to internalize your feelings without categorizing or evaluating them. When you feel unsure of the legitimacy of your reactions, remember that cultural, sociological, spiritual, and familial differences can cause two people to interpret a single event in widely dissimilar ways. Examining your responses outside of the context provided by others can show you that your emotional complexity is something to be valued, for it has made you who you are today.



  1. I just wanted to let you know that I have had two of these same moths outside my warehouse, which that I also thought were bats.They were hugh I will let you know if I see them again.I will try and get a picture next time.Talk to you later.

    Comment by Janine — July 5, 2008 @ 11:34 pm |Reply

  2. Hi, I found your blog on this new directory of WordPress Blogs at I dont know how your blog came up, must have been a typo, i duno. Anyways, I just clicked it and here I am. Your blog looks good. Have a nice day. James.

    Comment by James — September 17, 2008 @ 11:50 pm |Reply

  3. Hi There,
    I too have seen these moths, and refer to them as “Lunar Moths” – we see them at our Lodge in Northern Ontario in early June, they rest during the day and are active at night. Each one is unique, their wing colours and designs are amazing. I look forward to seeing one or two every year!
    By the way, lots of information at the web about these creatures, here is some:

    The Luna moth or Lunar Moth (Actius luna) comes from a type of giant silk moth which has a pair of natural fluorescent green colored wings with a brown, and white “eye” on each of its wings. They have long, sweeping lower wing-tails. The normal wing span for Lunar Moths is from 3 to nearly 8 inches across. This nocturnal insect is also found in deciduous hardwood forests in North America, from Canada to Northern Mexico. You’ can find them in almost any area that has deciduous trees if you hang out near bright lights at the night where they like to buzz around. The Luna moth starts life as a tiny egg then hatches into a plump lime-green caterpillar with tiny orange spots along the sides. At first the slow-moving Luna caterpillar eats leaves from the following trees: white birch, alder, persimmon, sweet gum, hickory, walnut, and sumac trees. After eating and growing to a substantial size, the caterpillar builds a brown, tent-like cocoon, and will eventually emerge as a fully-grown adult. Finally as a mature adult the Lunar Moth doesn’t ever eat, instead it searches only for a mate so that it can breed and then it dies.

    Comment by Deb — January 17, 2009 @ 6:47 am |Reply

  4. I have to agree with this post.

    Comment by Satellite — April 12, 2009 @ 7:00 pm |Reply

  5. I just found a similair moth in my restuarant, it was the most amazing and also the most scary thing I’ve seen in a minute, I heard they eat meat.

    Comment by brook — June 30, 2009 @ 6:16 pm |Reply

  6. I found your blog when trying to look up the moth my kindergarten class and I found yesterday. The moth you posted a picture of is almost identical to the one we found. I just thought it was cool!

    Comment by kristen — April 8, 2010 @ 8:44 am |Reply

  7. It’s called a polyphemus moth.

    And luna moths are green and appear to have what resemble ‘tails’ on the bottom wings and this is not one.

    Comment by Amy — June 1, 2011 @ 2:54 pm |Reply

  8. A month back, while weeding around a bed of peonies and sedums, I found a large cocoon in some dried maple leaves. I placed it, along with some of its surrounding leaves in a vacant aquarium on our back screen porch. I wasn’t sure if it was viable. Three days ago, I was sitting on the porch, trying to do some curriculum work to the racket of a House Wren when I noticed this large, unmoving shadow clinging to the screen. I immediately thought it was a Cecropia moth like one I had found as a child, however it didn’t match any of the wikipedia photos. I released it under a hedge on our northern Illinois property and it shivered for several minutes. Ten minutes later it was gone. Thank you for this post. It allowed me to finally give the creature a name!
    Does anyone know if it has a non-Latin, common name?

    Comment by Don — June 14, 2011 @ 3:03 pm |Reply

  9. found one in Colorado
    Springs, Colorado in June 2012
    beautiful moth

    Comment by Tammy — June 5, 2012 @ 8:54 am |Reply

  10. I have one on my porch, also a Lunar moth. Lots of moths this year, little white ones too. Great to read your blog, I saved it to send to a Dharma friend as it was relevant to our teachings.
    Thank you,
    Carolyn from Vermont

    Comment by carolyn boeri — June 10, 2012 @ 2:26 pm |Reply

  11. My wife found one in Rochester Washington on Saturday June 24, 2012 clinging to a chainlink fence at her work site. It climbed on to her hand and stayed with her all day.
    She came home with it so we could take photos and then let it go in our Alder trees on the hill behind our house.
    Wing spread was about 5 inches. Absolutely beautiful….

    Lynn Nordloh
    Olympia WA

    Comment by Lynn Nordloh — June 27, 2012 @ 6:10 pm |Reply

  12. Thank you for sharing. I want to share what you said about our feelings and uniqueness, etc. because this is exactly how I feel, though I do not think I could have said it quite as eloquently as you did. I came across your blog because I was looking up moths. Just today I tried to save a moth like this one you show here on your blog. It was whirling in the wind of the traffic. I pulled over and waited for the traffic to pass, all the while watching the moth swoosh around in the air, and then watched it fall down on the pavement. I saw him under the cars as they drove over, hoping that no car would run it over. To my dismay the next to the last car just happened to run its tire directly over the helpless moth. My good intentions were altered and in an instant I felt sorrow. After the last car passed, I ran and picked up the lifeless big beautiful moth from the road, took it home and took pictures. My quest now is to find out the name of this large moth.

    Comment by Connie — October 11, 2012 @ 5:55 pm |Reply

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