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´╗┐Title: Moths of the Limberlost: A Book About Limberlost Cabin
Author: Stratton-Porter, Gene, 1863-1924
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Updater's note: this etext refers to "Autocrat of the Breakfast Table",
by Oliver Wendell Holmes, and "A Girl of the Limberlost", by Gene


MOTHS OF THE LIMBERLOST

A book about Limberlost Cabin

by

Gene Stratton-Porter



To
Neltje Degraff Doubleday



"All diamonded with panes of quaint device,
Innumerable of stains, and splendid dyes,
As are the Tiger Moth's deep damask wings."



CONTENTS


CHAPTER I      Moths of the Limberlost

CHAPTER II     Moths, eggs, caterpillars, winter quarters

CHAPTER III    The Robin Moth

CHAPTER IV     The Yellow Emperor

CHAPTER V      The Lady Bird

CHAPTER VI     Moths of the moon

CHAPTER VII    King of the hollyhocks

CHAPTER VIII   Hera of the corn

CHAPTER IX     The Sweetheart and the Bride

CHAPTER X      The Giant Gamin

CHAPTER XI     The Garden Fly

CHAPTER XII    Bloody-Nose of Sunshine Hill

CHAPTER XIII   The Modest Moth

CHAPTER XIV    The Pride of the Lilacs

CHAPTER XV     The King of the Poets



CHAPTER I  Moths of the Limberlost


To me the Limberlost is a word with which to conjure; a spot
wherein to revel.  The swamp lies in north-eastern Indiana,
nearly one hundred miles south of the Michigan line and ten
west of the Ohio.  In its day it covered a large area.  When
I arrived; there were miles of unbroken forest, lakes provided
with boats for navigation, streams of running water, the roads
around the edges corduroy, made by felling and sinking large trees
in the muck.  Then the Winter Swamp had all the lacy  exquisite
beauty  of such locations when snow and frost draped, while from
May until October it was practically tropical jungle.  From it I
have sent to scientists flowers and vines not then classified
and illustrated in our botanies.

It was a piece of forethought to work unceasingly  at that time,
for soon commerce attacked the swamp and began its usual process of
devastation.  Canadian lumbermen came seeking tall straight
timber for ship masts and tough heavy trees for beams.  Grand
Rapids followed and stripped the forest of hard wood for fine
furniture, and through my experience with the lumber men "Freckles"'
story  was written.  Afterward hoop and stave men and local mills
took the best of the soft wood.  Then a ditch, in reality a canal,
was dredged across the north end through, my best territory, and
that carried the water to the Wabash River until oil men could
enter the swamp.  From that time the wealth they drew to the
surface constantly materialized in macadamized roads, cosy homes,
and big farms of unsurpassed richness, suitable for growing onions,
celery, sugar beets, corn and potatoes, as repeatedly has been
explained in everything I have written of the place.  Now, the
Limberlost exists only in ragged spots and patches, but so rich
was it in the beginning that there is yet a wealth of work for
a lifetime remaining to me in these, and river thickets.  I ask
no better hunting grounds for birds, moths, and flowers.  The
fine roads are a convenience, and settled farms a protection,
to be taken into consideration, when bewailing its dismantling.

It is quite true that "One man's meat is another's poison."
When poor Limber, lost and starving in the fastnesses of the
swamp, gave to it a name, afterward to be on the lips of millions;
to him it was deadly  poison.  To me it has been of unspeakable
interest, unceasing work of joyous nature, and meat in full measure,
with occasional sweetbreads by  way  of a treat.

Primarily, I went to the swamp to study and reproduce the birds.
I never thought they could have a rival in my  heart.  But these
fragile night wanderers, these moonflowers of June's darkness,
literally "thrust themselves upon me."  When my cameras were
placed before the home of a pair of birds, the bushes parted to
admit light, and clinging to them I found a creature, often having
the bird's sweep of wing, of colour pale green with decorations
of lavender and yellow or running the gamut from palest tans
darkest browns, with markings, of pink or dozens of other
irresistible combinations of colour, the feathered folk found a
competitor that often outdistanced them in my affections, for
I am captivated easily by colour, and beauty  of form.

At first, these moths made studies of exquisite beauty, I merely
stopped a few seconds to reproduce them, before proceeding
with my work.  Soon I found myself filling the waiting time,
when birds were slow in coming before the cameras, when clouds
obscured the light too much for fast exposures, or on grey days,
by searching for moths.  Then in collecting abandoned nests,
cocoons were found on limbs, inside stumps, among leaves when
gathering nuts, or queer shining pupae-cases came to light as
I lifted wild flowers in the fall.  All these were carried to my
little conservatory, placed in as natural conditions as possible,
and studies were made from the moths that emerged the following
spring.  I am not sure but that "Moths of Limberlost Cabin"
would be the most appropriate title for this book.

Sometimes, before I had finished with them, they paired, mated,
and dotted everything with fertile eggs, from which tiny
caterpillars soon would emerge.  It became a matter of intense
interest to provide their natural foods and raise them.  That
started me to watching for caterpillars and eggs out of doors,
and friends of my work began carrying them to me.  Repeatedly,
I have gone through the entire life process, from mating newly
emerged moths, the egg period, caterpillar life, with its
complicated moults and changes, the spinning of the cocoons,
the miraculous winter sleep, to the spring appearance;  and with
my cameras recorded each stage of development.  Then on platinum
paper, printed so lightly from these negatives as to give only
an exact reproduction of forms, and with water colour medium
copied each mark, line and colour gradation in most cases from
the living moth at its prime.  Never was the study of birds so
interesting.

The illustration of every moth book I ever have seen, that
attempted coloured reproduction, proved by the shrivelled bodies
and unnatural position of the wings, that it had been painted from
objects mounted from weeks to years in private collections or
museums.  A lifeless moth fades rapidly under the most favourable
conditions.  A moth at eight days of age, in the last stages of
decline, is from four to six distinct shades lighter in colour
than at six hours from the cocoon, when it is dry, and ready
for flight.  As soon as circulation stops, and the life juices
evaporate from the wings and body, the colour grows many shades paler.
If exposed to light, moths soon fade almost beyond recognition.

I make no claim to being an entomologist;  I quite agree with the
"Autocrat of the Breakfast Table", that "the subject is too vast
for any single human intelligence to grasp."  If my life depended
upon it I could not give the scientific name of every least organ
and nerve of a moth, and as for wrestling with the thousands of
tiny species of day and night or even attempting all the
ramifications of--say the alluringly beautiful Catocalae family--life
is too short, unless devoted to this purpose alone.  But if
I frankly confess my limitations, and offer the book to my
nature-loving friends merely as an introduction to the most
exquisite creation of the swamp; and the outside history, as it
were, of the evolution of these creatures from moth to moth again,
surely no one can feel defrauded.  Since the publication of
"A Girl of the Limberlost", I have received hundreds of letters
asking me to write of my experiences with the lepidoptera of the
swamp.  This book professes to be nothing more.

Because so many  enemies prey  upon the large night moths in all
stages, they  are nowhere sufficiently numerous to be pests, or
common enough to be given local names, as have the birds.  I have
been compelled to use their scientific names to assist in
identification, and at times I have had to resort to technical terms,
because there were no other.  Frequently I have written of them under
the names by which I knew them in childhood, or that we of Limberlost
Cabin have bestowed upon them.

There is a wide gulf between a Naturalist and a Nature Lover.  A
Naturalist devotes his life to delving into stiff scientific
problems concerning everything in nature from her greatest to her
most minute forms.  A Nature Lover works at any occupation and
finds recreation in being out of doors and appreciating the common
things of life as they appeal to his senses.

The Naturalist always begins at the beginning and traces family,
sub-family, genus and species.  He deals in Latin and Greek terms
of resounding and disheartening combinations.  At his hands anatomy
and markings become lost in a scientific jargon of patagia, jugum,
discocellulars, phagocytes, and so on to the end of the volume.
For one who would be a Naturalist, a rare specimen indeed, there are
many  volumes on the market.  The list of pioneer lepidopterists
begins authoritatively with Linnaeus and since his time you can
make your selection from the works of Druce, Grote, Strecker,
Boisduval, Robinson, Smith, Butler, Fernald, Beutenmuller, Hicks,
Rothschild, Hampson, Stretch, Lyman, or any of a dozen others.
Possessing such an imposing array of names there should be no
necessity to add to them.  These men have impaled moths and
dissected, magnified and located brain, heart and nerves.  After
finishing the interior they have given to the most minute exterior
organ from two to three inches of Latin name.  From them we learn
that it requires a coxa, trochanter, femur, tibia, tarsus, ungues,
pulvillus, and anterior, medial and posterior spurs to provide a
leg for a moth.  I dislike to weaken my argument that more work
along these lines is not required, by recording that after all
this, no one seems to have located the ears definitely.  Some
believe hearing lies in the antennae.  Hicks has made an especial
study of a fluid filled cavity closed by a membrane that he thinks
he has demonstrated to be the seat of hearing.  Leydig, Gerstaecker,
and others believe this same organ to be olfactory.  Perhaps, after
all, there is room for only one more doctor of science who will
permanently settle this and a few other vexing questions for us.

But what of the millions of Nature Lovers, who each year snatch only
a brief time afield, for rest and recreation?  What of the masses
of men and women whose daily  application to the work of life makes
vacation study a burden, or whose business has so broken the habit
of study that concentration is distasteful if not impossible?
These people number in the ratio of a million to one Naturalist.
They would be delighted to learn the simplest name possible for
the creatures they or their friends find afield, and the markings,
habits, and characteristics by which they can be identified.
They do not care in the least for species and minute detail
concerning anatomy, couched in resounding Latin and Greek terms
they cannot possibly remember.

I never have seen or heard of any person who on being shown any
one of ten of our most beautiful moths, did not consider and
promptly pronounce it the most exquisite creation he ever had seen,
and evince a lively interest in its history.  But when he found it
necessary to purchase a text-book, devoid of all human interest
or literary possibility, and wade through pages of scientific
dissertation, all the time having the feeling that perhaps through
his lack of experience his identification was not aright, he usually
preferred to remain in ignorance.  It is in the belief that all
Nature Lovers, afield for entertainment or instruction, will be
thankful for a simplification of any method now existing for
becoming acquainted with moths, that this book is written
and illustrated.

In gathering the material used I think it is quite true that I have
lost as many good subjects as I have secured, in my efforts to
follow the teachings of scientific writers.  My complaint against
them is that they neglect essential detail and are not always
rightly informed.  They confuse one with a flood of scientific
terms describing minute anatomical parts and fail to explain the
simple yet absolutely essential points over which an amateur has
trouble, wheat often only a few words would suffice.

For example, any one of half a dozen writers tells us that when
a caterpillar finishes eating and is ready to go into winter
quarters it crawls rapidly around for a time, empties the
intestines, and transformation takes place.  Why do not some
of them explain further that a caterpillar of, say, six inches in
length will shrink to THREE, its skin become loosened, the horns
drop limp, and the creature appear dead and disintegrating?
Because no one mentioned these things, I concluded that the first
caterpillar I found in this state was lost to me and threw it away.
A few words would have saved the complete history of a beautiful
moth, to secure which no second opportunity was presented for five
years.

Several works I consulted united in the simple statement that
certain caterpillars pupate in the ground.

In Packard's "Guide", you will find this--"Lepidopterous pupae should
be...kept moist in mould until the image appears."  I followed this
direction, even taking the precaution to bake the earth used,
because I was very anxious about some rare moths.
When they failed to emerge in season I dug them out, only to find
that those not moulded had been held fast by  the damp, packed
earth, and all were ruined.  I learned by investigation that
pupation takes place in a hole worked out by the caterpillar, so
earth must touch these cases only as they lie upon it.  The one
word 'hole' would have saved all those moths for me.

One writer stated that the tongue cases of some pupae turn over
and fasten on the back between the wing shields, and others were
strangely silent on the subject.  So for ten months I kept some
cases lying on their backs with the feet up and photographed
them in that position.  I had to discover for myself that
caterpillars that pupate in the ground change to the moth form with
the feet and legs folded around the under side of the thorax, the
wings wrap over them, and the tongue case bends UNDER and is
fastened between the wings.

For years I could find nothing on the subject of how a moth from a
burrowing caterpillar made its appearance.  In two recent works I
find the statement that the pupa cases come to the surface before
the moths leave them, but how the operation is performed is not
described or explained.  Pupa cases from earth consist of two
principal parts: the blunt head and thorax covering, and the
ringed abdominal sections.  With many feeders there is a long,
fragile tongue shield.  The head is rounded and immovable of its
own volition.  The abdominal part is in rings that can be turned
and twisted; on the tip are two tiny, needlesharp points, and on
each of three rings of the abdominal shield there are in many
cases a pair of tiny hooks, very slight projections, yet enough
to be of use.  Some lepidopterists think the pupa works head first
to the surface, pushing with the abdomen.  To me this seems impossible.
The more one forced the blunt head against the earth the closer
it would pack, and the delicate tongue shield surely would break.
There is no projection on the head that would loosen or lift
the earth.

One prominent lepidopterist I know, believes the moth emerges
underground, and works its way to the surface as it fights to
escape a cocoon.  I consider this an utter impossibility.
Remember the earth-encrusted cicada cases you have seen clinging
to the trunks of trees, after the insect has reached the surface
and abandoned them.  Think what would happen to the delicate moth
head, wings, and downy covering!  I am willing to wager all I
possess, that no lepidopterist, or any amateur, ever found a
freshly emerged moth from an underground case with the faintest
trace of soil on its head or feet, or a particle of down missing;
as there unquestionably must be, if it forced its way to freedom
through the damp spring earth with its mouth and feet.

The point was settled for me when, while working in my garden,
one came through the surface within a few inches of my fingers,
working with the tip of the abdomen.  It turned, twisted, dug
away the dirt, fastened the abdominal tip, pulled up the head,
and then bored with the tip again.  Later I saw several others
emerge in the same way, and then made some experiments that
forever convinced me that this is the only manner in which ground
pupae possibly  could emerge.

One writer I had reason to suppose standard authority stated that
caterpillars from Citheronia Regalis eggs emerged in sixteen days.
So I boxed some eggs deposited on the eleventh, labelled them due
to produce caterpillars on the twenty-seventh and put away the box
to be attended on that date.  Having occasion to move it on the
twentyfourth, I peeped in and found half my caterpillars out and
starved, proving that they had been hatched at least thirty-six
hours or longer; half the others so feeble they soon became
inactive, and the remainder survived and pupated.  But if the time
specified had been allowed to elapse, every  caterpillar would
have starved.

One of the books I read preparatory to doing this work asserts
concerning spinners: "Most caterpillars make some sort of cocoon
or shelter, which may be of pure silk neatly wound, or of silk
mixed with hair and all manner of external things--such as pieces
of leaf, bark, moss, and lichen, and even grains of earth."

I have had caterpillars spin by the hundred, in boxes containing
most of these things, have gathered outdoor cocoons by the peck,
and microscopically examined dozens of them, and with the
exception of leaf, twig, bark, or some other foundation against
which it was spun, I never have seen a cocoon with shred, filament,
or particle of anything used in its composition that was not drawn
from the spinning tube or internal organism of the caterpillar,
with the possible exception of a few hairs from the tubercles.  I
have been told by other workers that they have had captive caterpillars
use earth and excrement in their cocoons.

This same work, in an article on protective colouration, lays
emphasis on the statement that among pupa cases artificially
fastened to different objects out of doors, "the elimination was
ninety-two per cent on fences where pupae were conspicuous, as
against fifty-two per cent among nettles, where they were inconspicuous."
This statement is elaborated and commented upon as making a strong
point for colourative protection through inconspicuousness.

Personally, I think the nettles did the work, regardless of colour.
I have learned to much experience afield that a patch of nettles or
thistles afford splendid protection to any form of life that can
survive them.  I have seen insects and nesting birds find a safety
in their shelter, unknown to their kind that home elsewhere.  The
test is not fair enough to be worth consideration.  If these same
pupae had been as conspicuously  placed as on the fence, on any
EDIBLE GROWTH, in the same location as the fence, and then left to
the mercy of playing children, grazing stock, field mice, snakes,
bats, birds, insects and parasites, the story of what happened to
them would have been different.  I doubt very seriously if it
would have proved the point those lepidopterists started out to
make in these conditions, which are the only fair ones under which
such an experiment could be made.

Many people mentioned in connexion with the specimens they brought
me have been more than kind in helping to collect the material
this volume contains; but its publication scarcely would have been
possible to me had it not been for the enthusiasm of one girl who
prefers not to be mentioned and the work of a seventeen-year-old
boy, Raymond Miller.  He has been my sole helper in many difficult
days of field work among the birds, and for the moths his interest
reached such a pitch that he spent many hours afield in search of
eggs, caterpillars, cocoons, and moths, when my work confined me
to the cabin.  He has carried to me many of my rarest cocoons,
and found in their native haunts several moths needed to complete
the book.  It is to be hoped that these wonderful days afield have
brought their own compensation, for kindness such as his I never
can reward adequately.  The book proves my indebtedness to the
Deacon and to Molly-Cotton.  I also owe thanks to Bob Burdette Black,
the oldest and warmest friend of my bird work, for many fine moths
and cocoons, and to Professor R. R. Rowley for the laborious task
of scientifically criticizing this book and with unparalleled
kindness lending a helping hand where an amateur stumbled.



CHAPTER II  MOTHS, EGGS, CATERPILLARS, WINTER QUARTERS


If you are too fastidious to read this chapter, it will be your
permanent loss, for it contains the life history, the evolution of
one of the most amazingly complicated and delicately beautiful
creatures in existence.  There are moths that come into the world,
accomplish the functions that perpetuate their kind, and go out,
without having taken any nourishment.  There are others that feed
and live for a season.  Some fly in the morning, others in the glare
of noon, more in the evening, and the most important class of big,
exquisitely lovely  ones only at night.  This explains why so many
people never have seen them, and it is a great pity, for the nocturnal,
non-feeding moths are birdlike in size, flower-like in rare and
complicated colouring, and of downy, silent wing.

The moths that fly by day and feed are of the Sphinginae group,
Celeus and Carolina, or Choerocampinae, which includes the
exquisite Deilephila Lineata, and its cousins; also Sphingidae,
which cover the clear-winged Hemaris diffinis and Thysbe.  Among
those that fly at night only and take no food are the members of
what is called the Attacine group, comprising our largest and
commonest moth, Cecropia; also its near relative Gloveri, smaller
than Cecropia and of lovely rosy wine-colour; Angulifera, the male
greyish brown, the female yellowish red; Promethea, the male
resembling a monster Mourning Cloak butterfly and the female
bearing exquisite red-wine flushings; Cynthia, beautiful in shades
of olive green, sprinkled with black, crossed by bands of pinkish
lilac and bearing crescents partly yellow, the remainder transparent.
There are also the deep yellow Io, pale blue-green Luna, and
Polyphemus, brown with pink bands of the Saturniidae; and light
yellow, red-brown and grey Regalis, and lavender and yellow
Imperialis of the Ceratocampidae, and their relatives.  Modest
and lovely Modesta belongs with the Smerinthinae group; and there
are others, feeders and non-feeders, forming a list too long to
incorporate, for I have not mentioned the Catocalae family, the
fore-wings of which resemble those of several members of the
Sphinginae, in colour, and when they take flight, the back ones
flash out colours that run the gamut from palest to deepest reds,
yellows, and browns, crossed by wide circling bands of black; with
these, occasionally the black so predominates that it appears as
if the wing were black and the bands of other colour.  All of them
are so exquisitely beautiful that neither the most exacting
descriptions, nor photographs from life, nor water colours faithfully
copied from living subjects can do them justice.  They must be seen
alive, newly emerged, down intact, colours at their most brilliant
shadings, to be appreciated fully.  With the exception of feeding
or refraining from eating, the life processes of all these are
very similar.

Moths are divided into three parts, the head, thorax, and abdomen,
with the different organs of each.  The head carries the source of
sight, scent, and the mouth parts, if the moth feeds, while the
location of the ears is not yet settled definitely.  Some
scientists place hearing in the antennae, others in a little organ
on each side the base of the abdomen.  Packard writes: "The eyes
are large and globose and vary in the distance apart in different
families":  but fails to tell what I want to know most: the range
and sharpness of their vision.  Another writer states that the eyes
are so incomplete in development that a moth only can distinguish
light from darkness and cannot discern your approach at over five feet.

This accords with my experience with Cecropia, Polyphemus,
Regalis, and Imperialis.  Luna either can see better, hear acutely,
or is naturally of more active habit.  It is difficult to capture
by hand in daytime; and Promethea acts as if its vision were even
clearer.  This may be the case, as it flies earlier in the day
than any of the others named, being almost impossible to take by
hand unless it is bound to a given spot by sex attraction.
Unquestionably the day fliers that feed--the Sphinginae and
Choerocampinae groups--have fairly good vision, as also the little
"Clear-wings" tribe, for they fly straight to the nectar-giving
flowers and fruits they like best to feed upon, and it is extra
good luck if you capture one by hand or even with a net.  It must
be remembered that all of them see and go to a bright light at
night from long distances.

Holland writes: "The eyes of moths are often greatly developed,"
but makes no definite statements as to their range of vision, until
he reaches the Catocalae family, of which he records:  "The hind
wings are, however, most brilliantly coloured.  In some species
they are banded with pink, in others with crimson; still others have
markings of yellow, orange, or snowy white on a background of jet
black.  These colours are distinctive of the species to a greater
or less extent.  They are only displayed at night.  The conclusion
is irresistibly forced upon us that the eyes of these creatures are
capable of discriminating these colours in the darkness.  We cannot
do it.  No human eye in the blackness of the night can distinguish
red from orange or crimson from yellow.  The human eye is the greatest
of all anatomical marvels, and the most wonderful piece of animal
mechanism in the world, but not all of power is lodged within it.
There are other allied mechanisms which have the power of responding
to certain forms of radiant energy to a degree which it does not possess."

This conclusion is not "irresistibly forced" upon me.  I do believe,
know in fact, that all day-flying, feeding moths have keener sight
and longer range of vision than non-feeders; but I do not believe
the differing branches of the Catocalae group, or moths of any family,
locate each other "in the blackness of night," by  seeing markings
distinctly.  I can think of no proof that moths, butterflies or any
insects recognize or appreciate colour.  Male moths mate with females
of their kind distinctly different from them in colour, and male
butterflies pair with albinos of their species, when these differ
widely from the usual colouring.

A few moths are also provided with small simple eyes called ocelli;
these are placed on top of the head and are so covered with down
they cannot be distinguished save by experts.  Mueller believes
that these are for the perception of objects close to a moth while
the compound eyes see farther, but he does not prove it.

If the moth does not feed, the mouth parts are scarcely developed.
If a feeder, it has a long tongue that can be coiled in a cleft in
the face between the palpi, which Packard thinks were originally
the feelers.  This tongue is formed of two grooved parts so
fastened together as to make a tube through which it takes flower
and fruit nectar and the juices of decaying animal matter.

What are thought by some to be small organs of touch lie on either
side the face, but the exact use of these is yet under discussion,
It is wofully difficult to learn some of these things.

In my experience the antennae, are the most sensitive, and
therefore the most important organs of the head--to me.  In the
Attacine group these stand out like delicately cut tiny fern
fronds or feathers, always being broader and more prominent on the
male.  Other families are very similar and again they differ
widely.  You will find moths having pointed hair-like antennae;
others heaviest at the tip in club shape, or they may be of even
proportion but flat, or round, or a feathered shaft so fine as to
be unnoticed as it lies pressed against the face.  Some writers say
the antennae are the seat of scent, touch, and hearing.  I had not
thought nature so impoverished in evolving her forms as to overwork
one delicate little organ for three distinct purposes.  The
antennae are situated close where the nose is, in almost every
form of life, and I would prefer to believe that they are the
organs of scent and feeling.  I know a moth suffers most over any
injury to them; but one takes flight no quicker or more precipitately
at a touch on the antennae than on the head, wing, leg, or abdomen.

We are safe in laying down a law that antennae are homologous organs
and used for identical purposes on all forms of life carrying them.
The short antennae of grasshoppers appear to be organs of scent.
The long hair-fine ones of katydids and crickets may be also, but
repeatedly I have seen these used to explore the way ahead over leaves
and limbs, the insect feeling its path and stepping where a touch
assures it there is safe footing.  Katydids, crickets, and
grasshoppers all have antennae, and all of these have ears definitely
located; hence their feelers are not for auricular purposes.
According to my logic those of the moth cannot be either.  I am quite
sure that primarily they serve the purpose of a nose, as they
are too short in most cases to be of much use as 'feelers,' although
that is undoubtedly their secondary  office.  If this be true, it
explains the larger organs ofthe male.  The female emerges from
winter quarters so weighted with carrying from two to six hundred
eggs, that she usually remains and develops where she is.  This
throws the business of finding her location on the male.  He is
compelled to take wing and hunt until he discovers her; hence his
need of more acute sense of scent and touch.  The organ that is
used most is the one that develops in the evolution of any form
of life.

I can well believe that the antennae are most important to a moth,
for a broken one means a spoiled study for me.  It starts the
moth tremulously shivering, aimlessly beating, crazy, in fact,
and there is no hope of it posing for a picture.  Doctor Clemens
records that Cecropia could neither, walk nor fly, but wheeled in
a senseless, manner when deprived of its antennae.  This makes
me sure that they are the seat of highest sensibility, for I
have known in one or two cases of chloroformed moths reviving and
without struggle or apparent discomfort, depositing eggs in a
circle around them, while impaled to a setting board with a pin
thrust through the thorax where it of necessity must have passed
through or very close the nervous cord and heart.

The moth is covered completely with silken down like tiny scales,
coloured and marked according to species, and so lightly attached
that it adheres to the cocoon on emergence and clings to the
fingers at the lightest touch.  From the examination of specimens
I have taken that had disfigured themselves, it appears that a moth
rubbed bare of down would seem as if covered with thinly cut, highly
polished horn, fastened together in divisions.  This is called
'chitine' by scientists.

The thorax bears four wings, and six legs, each having five joints
and ending in tiny claws.  The wings are many-veined membranous
sacs, covered with scales that are coloured according to species
and arranged to form characteristic family markings.  They are a
framework usually of twelve hollow tubes or veins that are so
connected with the respiratory organs as to be pneumatic.  These
tubes support double membranes covered above and below with down.
At the bases of the wings lie their nerves.  The fore-wings each
have a heavy rib running from the base and gradually decreasing
to the tip.  This is called the costa.  Its purpose is to bear
the brunt of air-pressure in flight.  On account of being compelled
to fly so much more than the females, the back wings of the males
of many species have developed a secondary rib that fits under
and supports the front, also causing both to work together with
the same impulse to flight.  A stiff bunch of bristles serves the
same purpose in most females, while some have a lobe extending
from the fore-wing.  As long as the costa remains unbroken to
preserve balance, a moth that has become entangled in bushes
or suffered rough treatment from birds can fly  with badly
damaged wing surfaces.

In some species, notably the Attacine group and all non-feeding,
night-flying moths, the legs are short, closely covered with long
down of the most delicate colours of the moth, and sometimes
decorated with different shades.  Luna has beautiful lavender legs,
Imperialis yellow, and Regalis red-brown.  The day-flying, feeding
group have longer, slenderer legs, covered with shorter down, and
carry more elaborate markings.  This provision is to enable them
to cling firmly to flower or twig while feeding, to help them to
lift the body higher, and walk dextrously in searching for food.
It is also noticeable that these moths have, for their size,
comparatively much longer, slenderer wings than the non-feeders,
and they can turn them back and fold them together in the fly
position, thus enabling them to force their way into nectar-bearing
flowers of trumpet shape.

The abdomen is velvet soft to the touch, and divided into rings
called segments, these being so joined that this member can be
turned and twisted at will.  In all cases the last ring contains
the sex organs.  The large abdomen of the female carries several
hundred embryo eggs, and that of the male the seminal fluid.

Much has been written of moths being able to produce odours that
attract the sexes, and that are so objectionable as to protect
them from birds, mice, and bats.  Some believe there are scent
glands in a few species under the wing scales.  I have critically
examined scores of wings as to colour markings, but never
noticed or smelled these.  On some, tufts of bristlelike hairs can
be thrust out, that give a discernible odour; but that this
carries any distance or is a large factor in attracting the sexes
I do not believe so firmly, after years of practical experience, as
I did in the days when I had most of my moth history from books.
I have seen this theory confounded so often in practice.

In June of 1911, close six o'clock in the evening, I sat on the
front veranda of the Cabin, in company with my family, and
watched three moths sail past us and around the corner, before
I remembered that on the screen of the music-room window to the
east there was a solitary female Promethea moth, that day emerged
from a cocoon sent me by Professor Rowley.  I hurried to the room
and found five male moths fluttering before the screen or clinging
to the wild grape and sweet brier vines covering it.  I opened the
adjoining window and picked up three of the handsomest with my
fingers, placing them inside the screen.  Then I returned to
the veranda.

Moths kept coming.  We began studying the conditions.  The
female had emerged in the diningroom on the west side of the
cabin.  On account of the intense heat of the afternoon sun, that
side of the building had been tightly closed all day.  At four
o'clock the moth was placed on the east window, because it was
sheltered with vines.  How soon the first male found her, I do not
know.  There was quite a stiff evening breeze blowing from the
west, so that any odour from her would have been carried on east.
We sat there and watched and counted six more moths, every one of
which came down wind from the west, flying high, above the
treetops in fact, and from the direction of a little tree-filled
plot called Studabaker's woods.  Some of them we could distinguish
almost a block away coming straight toward the Cabin, and sailing
around the eastern corner with the precision of hounds on a hot trail.
How they knew, the Almighty  knows; I do not pretend to; but
that there was odour distilled by that one female, practically
imperceptible to us (she merely smelled like a moth), yet of such
strength as to penetrate screen, vines, and roses and reach her
kind a block away, against considerable breeze, I never shall
believe.

The fact is, that moths smell like other moths of the same species,
and within a reasonable radius they undoubtedly  attract each
other.  In the same manner birds carry a birdlike odour, and
snakes, frogs, fish, bees, and all animals have a scent peculiar
to themselves.  No dog mistakes the odour of a cat for that of
another dog.  A cow does not follow the scent of horses to find
other cattle.  No moth hunts a dragon-fly, a butterfly, or in my
experience, even a moth of another species in its search for a
mate.  How male moths work the miracles I have seen them accomplish
in locating females, I cannot explain.  As the result of acts we
see them perform, we credit some forms of life with much keener
scent than others, and many with having the power more highly
developed than people.  The only standard by which we can determine
the effect that the odour of one insect, bird, or animal has upon
another is by the effect it has upon us.  That a male moth can
smell a female a block away, against the wind, when I can detect
only a faint musky odour within a foot of her, I do not credit.

Primarily the business of moths is to meet, mate, and deposit
eggs that will produce more moths.  This is all of life with those
that do not take food.  That they add the completing touch and
most beautiful form of life to a few exquisite May and June nights
is their extra good fortune, not any part of the affair of living.
With moths that feed and live after reproduction, mating and egg
placing comes first.  In all cases the rule is much, the same.  The
moths emerge, dry their wings, and reach full development the
first day.  In freedom, the females being weighted with eggs seldom
attempt to fly.  They remain where they are, thrust out the egg
placer from the last ring of the abdomen and wait.  By ten o'clock
the males, in such numbers as to amaze a watcher, find them
and remain until almost morning.  Broad antennae, slenderer
abdomen, and the claspers used in holding the female in mating,
smaller wings and more brilliant markings are the signs by which
the male can be told in most cases.  In several of the Attacine
group, notably Promethea, the male and female differ widely in
markings and colour.  Among the other non-feeders the difference
is slight.  The male Regalis has the longest, most gracefully
curved abdomen and the most prominent claspers of any moth I ever
examined; but the antennae are so delicate and closely pressed
against the face most of the time as to be concealed until
especially  examined.  I have noticed that among the moths bearing
large, outstanding antennae, the claspers are less prominent than
with those having small, inconspicuous head parts.  A fine pair of
antennae, carried forward as by a big, fully developed Cecropia,
are as ornamental to the moth as splendidly branching antlers are
to the head of a deer.

The female now begins egg placing.  This requires time, as one of
these big night moths deposits from three hundred and fifty to
over six hundred eggs.  These lie in embryonic state in the abdomen
of the female.  At her maturity they ripen rapidly.  When they
are ready to deposit, she is forced to place them whether she has
mated or not.  In case a mate has found her, a small pouch near
the end of her abdomen is filled with a fluid that touches each
egg in passing and renders it fertile.  The eggs differ with species
and are placed according to family  characteristics.  They may be
pure white, pearl-coloured, grey, greenish, or yellow.  There are
round, flat, and oblong eggs.  These are placed differently in
freedom and captivity.  A moth in a natural location glues her eggs,
often one at a time, on the under or upper side of leaves.  Sometimes
she dots several in a row, or again makes a number of rows, like a
little beaded mat.  One authority I have consulted states that
"The eggs are always laid by the female in a state of freedom upon
the food-plant which is most congenial to the larvae."  This has not
'always' been the case in my experience.  I have found eggs on
stone walls, boards, fences, outbuildings, and on the bark of dead
trees and stumps as well as living, even on the ground.  This also,
has been the case with the women who wrote "Caterpillars and their
Moths", the most invaluable work on the subject ever compiled.

A captive moth feels and resents her limitations.  I cannot force
one to mate even in a large box.  I must free her in the conservatory,
in a room, or put her on an outside window br door screen.  Under
these conditions one will place her eggs more nearly as in freedom;
but this makes them difficult to find and preserve.  Placed in a
box and forced by nature to deposit her eggs, as a rule, she will
remain in one spot and heap them up until she is forced to move to
make room for more.  One big female Regalis of the last chapter
of this book placed them a thimbleful at a time; but the little
caterpillars came rolling out in all directions when due.  In my
experience, they  finish in four or five nights, although I have
read of moths having lived and placed eggs for ten, some species
being said to have deposited over a thousand.  Seven days is
usually the limit of life for these big night moths with me;
they merely grow inactive and sluggish until the very last, when
almost invariably they are seized with a muscular attack, in which
they beat themselves to rags and fringes, as if resisting the
overcoming lethargy.  It is because of this that I have been forced
to resort to the gasoline bottle a few times when I found it impossible
to paint from the living moth; but I do not put one to sleep unless
I am compelled.

I never have been able to induce a female to mate after confinement
had driven her to begin depositing her eggs, not even under the
most favourable conditions I could offer, although others record
that they have been so fortunate.  Repeatedly I have experimented
with males and females of different species, but with no success.
I have not seem a polygamous moth; but have read of experiences
with them.

Sometimes the eggs have a smooth surface, again they may be
ridged or like hammered brass or silver.  The shells are very
thin and break easily.  At one side a place can be detected where
the fertilizing fluid enters.  The coming caterpillar begins to
develop at once and emerges in from six to thirty days, with the
exception of a few eggs placed in the fall that produce during the
following spring.  The length of the egg period differs with
species and somewhat with the same moths, according to suitable or
unfavourable placing, and climatic conditions.  Do not accept the
experience of any one if you have eggs you very much desire to
be productive of the caterpillars of rare moths; after six days
take a peep every day if you would be on the safe side.  With many
species the shells are transparent, and for the last few days
before emergence the growth of the little caterpillars can be
watched through them.

When matured they break or eat a hole in their shells and emerge,
seeming much too large for the space they occupied.  Family
characteristics show at once.  Many of them immediately turn and
eat their shells as if starving; others are more deliberate.  Some
grace around for a time as if exercising and then return and eat
their shells; others walk briskly away and do not dine on
shell for the first meal.  Usually all of them rest close
twenty-four hours before beginning on leaves.  Once they commence
feeding in favourable conditions they eat enormously and grow so
rapidly they soon become too large for their skins to hold them
another instant; so they pause and stop eating for a day or two
while new skin forms.  Then the old is discarded and eaten for a
first meal, with the exception of the face covering.  At the same
time the outer skin is cast the intestinal lining is thrown off,
and practically a new caterpillar, often bearing different markings,
begins to feed again.

These moults occur from four to six times in the development of the
caterpillar; at each it emerges larger, brighter, often with
other changes of colour, and eats more voraciously as it grows.
With me, in handling caterpillars about which I am anxious,
their moulting time is critical.  I lost many until I learned to
clean their boxes thoroughly the instant they stopped eating and
leave them alone until they exhibited hunger signs again.  They
eat greedily of the leaves preferred by each species, doing best
when the foliage is washed and drops of water left for them to
drink as they would find dew and rain out of doors.  Professor
Thomson, of the chair of Natural History of the University of
Aberdeen, makes this statement in his "Biology of the Seasons",
"Another feature in the life of caterpillars is their enormous
appetite.  Some of them seem never to stop eating, and a species
of Polyphemus is said to eat eighty-six thousand times its own
weight in a day."  I notice Doctor Thomson does not say that he
knows this, but uses the convenient phrase, "it is said."  This
is an utter impossibility.  The skin of no living creature will
contain eighty-six thousand times its own weight in a day.  I
have raised enough caterpillars to know that if one ate three
times its own weight in a day it would have performed a
skin-stretching feat.  Long after writing this, but before the
manuscript left my hands, I found that the origin of this statement
lies in a table compiled by Trouvelot, in which he estimates that
a Polyphemus caterpillar ten days old weighs one half grain, or
ten times its original weight; at twenty days three grains, or
sixty times its first weight; and so on until at fifty-six days
it weighs two hundred and seven grains, or four thousand one hundred
and forty times its first weight.  To this he adds one half ounce
of water and concludes: "So the food taken by a single silkworm in
fifty-six days equals in weight eighty-six thousand times the
primitive weight of the worm."  This is a far cry from eating
eighty-six thousand times its own weight in a day and upholds in
part my contention in the first chapter, that people attempting to
write upon these subjects "are not always rightly informed."

When the feeding period is finished in freedom, the caterpillar,
if hairless, must be ready to evolve from its interior, the
principal part of the winter quarters characteristic of its species
while changing to the moth form, and in the case of non-feeders,
sustenance for the lifetime of the moth also.  Similar to the moth,
the caterpillar is made up of three parts, head, thorax, and abdomen,
with the organs and appendages of each.  Immediately  after moulting
the head appears very large, and seems much too heavy for the size
of the body.  At the end of a feeding period and just previous to
another moult the body has grown until the head is almost lost from
sight, and it now seems small and insignificant; so that the appearance
of a caterpillar depends on whether you examine it before or after
moulting.

The head is made up of rings or segments, the same as the body, but
they are so closely set that it seems to be a flat, round, or
pointed formation with discernible rings on the face before casting
time.  The eyes are of so simple form that they are supposed only
to distinguish light from darkness.  The complicated mouth is at
the lower part of the head.  It carries a heavy pair of cutters
with which the caterpillar bites off large pieces of leaf, a first
pair of grinders with which it macerates the food, and a second
pair that join in forming the under lip.  There is also the tube that
connects with the silk glands and ends in the spinneret.  Through
this tube a fluid is forced that by movements of the head the
caterpillar attaches where it will and draws into fine threads that
at once harden in silk.  This organism is sufficiently developed
for use in a newly emerged caterpillar, for it can spin threads by
which to drop from leaf to leaf or to guide it back to a starting
point.

The thorax is covered by the first three rings behind the head,
and on it are six legs, two on each segment.  The remainder of the
caterpillar is abdominal and carries small pro-legs with which to
help it cling to twigs and leaves, and the heavy anal props that
support the vent.  By using these and several of the pro-legs
immediately before them, the caterpillar can cling and erect the
front part of the body so that it can strike from side to side
when disturbed.  In the case of caterpillars that have a horn, as
Celeus, or sets of them as Regalis, in this attitude they really
appear quite formidable, and often I have seen them drive away
small birds, while many  people flee shrieking.

There are little tubes that carry air to the trachea, as
caterpillars have no lungs and can live with a very small amount
of air.

The skin may be rough, granulated, or soft and fine as silk, and
in almost every instance of exquisite colour: bluish green,
greenish blue, wonderful yellows and from pale to deep wine red,
many species having oblique touches of contrasting colours on the
abdominal rings.  Others are marked with small projections of
bright colours from which tufts of hair or bristles may grow.  In
some, as Io, these bristles are charged with an irritating acid
that will sting for an hour after coming in contact with the skin,
but does no permanent injury.  On a few there are what seem to be
small pockets of acid that can be ejected with a jerk, and on some
a sort of filament that is supposed to distil a disagreeable odour.
As the caterpillar only uses these when disturbed, it is safe to
presume that they  are placed for defence, but as in the case of
moths I doubt their efficacy.

Some lepidopterists have thought the sex of a moth could be
regulated by the amount of food given the caterpillar; but with
my numerous other doubts I include this.  It is all of a piece
with any attempt at sex regulation.  I regard it as morally certain
that sex goes back to the ovary and that the egg produced yields a
male or female caterpillar in the beginning.  I am becoming convinced
that caterpillars recognize sex in each other, basing the theory
on the facts that in half a dozen instances I have found cocoons,
spun only a few inches apart.  One pair brought to me as interwoven.
Two of these are shown in the following chapter.  In all cases a male
and female emerged within a few minutes of each other and mated as
soon as possible.  If a single pair of these cocoons ever had produced
two of a kind, it would give rise to doubts.  When all of them proved
to be male and female that paired, it seems to me to furnish
conclusive evidence that the caterpillars knew what they were
doing, and spun in the same place for the purpose of appearing
together.

At maturity, usually near five weeks, the full-fed caterpillar
rests a day, empties the intestines, and races around searching for
a suitable place to locate winter quarters.  With burrowing
caterpillars that winter in pupa cases, soft earth or rotting wood
is found and entered by working their way with the heads and
closing it with the hind parts.  At the desired depth they push in
all directions with such force that a hollow larger, but shaped as
a hen's egg, is worked out; usually this is six or more inches below
the surface.  So compactly is the earth forced back, that fall rains,
winter's alternate freezing and thawing, always a mellowing process,
and spring downpours do not break up the big ball, often larger than
a quart bowl, that surrounds the case of the pupa.  It has been
thought by some and recorded, that this ball is held in place by
spinning or an acid ejected by the caterpillar.  I never have
heard of any one else who has had my luck in lifting these earth
balls intact, opening, and photographing them and their contents.
I have examined them repeatedly and carefully.  I can find not the
slightest trace of spinning or adhesion other than by force.

With one of these balls lifted and divided, we decided what
happened underground by detaining a caterpillar on the surface and
forcing it to transform before us, for this change is not optional.
When the time comes the pupa must evolve.  So the caterpillar lies
on the earth, gradually growing shorter, the skin appearing dry
and the horns drooping.  There never is a trace of spinning or acid
ejected in the sand buckets.  When the change is completed there
begins a violent twisting and squirming.  The caterpillar skin opens
in a straight line just behind the head on the back, and by working
with the pointed abdomen the pupa case emerges.  The cast skin
rapidly darkens, and as I never have found a trace of it in an
opened earth ball in the spring, I suppose it disintegrates
rapidly, or what is more possible, is eaten by small borers that
swarm through the top six inches of the earth's crust.

The pupa is thickly coated with a sticky substance that seems to
serve the double purpose of facilitating its exit from the
caterpillar skin and to dry over it in a glossy waterproof
coating.  At first the pupa is brownish green and flattened, but as
it dries it rapidly darkens in colour and assumes the shape of a
perfect specimen.  Concerning this stage of the evolution of a moth
the doctors disagree.

The emergence I have watched repeatedly, studied photographically,
and recorded in the tabulated records from which I wrote the
following life histories.  At time to appear I believe the pupa
bores its way with the sharp point of the abdomen; at least I
have seen Celeus, and Carolina, Regalis and Imperialis coming
through the surface, abdomen tip first.  Once free, they press
with the feet against the wing shields, burst them away and leave
the case at the thorax.  Each moth I ever have seen emerge has been
wet and the empty  case damp inside.  I have poured three large
drops of pinkish liquid the consistency of thin cream from the abdominal
rings of a Regalis case.  Undoubtedly this liquid is ejected by
the moth to enable it to break loose from and leave the case with
its delicate down intact.  The furry scales of its covering are so
loosely set that any violent struggle with dry down would disfigure
the moth.

Among Cecropia and its Attacine cousins, also Luna, Polyphemus, and
all other spinners the process is practically the same, save that
it is much more elaborate; most of all with Cecropia, that spins
the largest cocoon I ever have seen, and it varies its work more
than any of the others.  Lengthwise of a slender twig it spins a
long, slim cocoon; on a board or wall, roomier and wider at the
bottom, and inside hollow trees, and under bridges, big baggy
quarters of exquisite reddish tan colours that do not fade as do
those exposed to the weather.  The typical cocoon of the species
is that spun on a fence or outbuilding, not the slender work on
the alders or the elaborate quarters of the bridge.  On a board
the process is to cover the space required with a fine spinning
that glues firmly to the wood.  Then the worker takes a firm grip
with the anal props and lateral feet and begins drawing out long
threads that start at the top, reach down one side, across the
bottom and back to the top again, where each thread is cut and
another begun.  As long as the caterpillar can be seen through
its work, it remains in the same position and throws the head
back and around to carry the threads.  I never thought of
counting these movements while watching a working spinner, but
some one who has, estimates that Polyphemus, that spins a cocoon
not one fourth the size of Cecropia, moves the head a quarter
of a million times in guiding the silk thread.  When a thin webbing
is spun and securely  attached all around the edges it is pushed
out in the middle and gummed all over the inside with a liquid glue
that oozes through, coalesces and hardens in a waterproof covering.
Then a big nest of crinkly silk threads averaging from three to
four inches in length are spun, running from the top down one side,
up the other, and the cut ends drawn closely together.  One writer
states that this silk has no commercial value; while Packard thinks
it has.  I attach greater weight to his opinion.  Next comes the
inner case.  For this the caterpillar loosens its hold and completely
surrounds itself with a small case of compact work.  This in turn is
saturated with the glue and forms in a thick, tough case, rough on
the outside, the top not so solidly spun as the other walls;
inside dark brown and worn so smooth it seems as if oiled, from the
turning of the caterpillar.  In this little chamber close the
length and circumference of an average sized woman's two top joints
of the first finger, the caterpillar transforms to the pupa stage,
crowding its cast skin in a wad at the bottom.

At time for emergence the moth bursts the pupa case, which is
extremely thin and papery compared with the cases of burrowing
species.  We know by the wet moth that liquid is ejected, although
we cannot see the wet spot on the top of the inner case of Cecropia
as we can with Polyphemus, that does not spin the loose outer case
and silk nest.  From here on the moths emerge according to species.
Some work with their mouths and fore feet.  Some have rough
projections on the top of the head, and others little sawlike
arrangements at the bases of the wings.  In whatever manner they
free themselves, all of them are wet when they leave their quarters.
Sometimes the gathered silk ends comb sufficient down from an
emerging Cecropia to leave a terra cotta rim around the opening
from which it came; but I never saw one lose enough at this time
to disfigure it.  On very rare occasions a deformed moth appears.
I had a Cecropia with one wing no larger than my thumb nail, and
it never developed.  This is caused by the moth sustaining an injury
to the wing in emergence.  If the membrane is slightly punctured
the liquid forced into the wing for its development escapes and
there is no enlargement.

Also, in rare instances, a moth is unable to escape at all and is
lost if it is not assisted; but this is precarious business and
should not be attempted unless you are positive the moth will die
if you do not interfere.  The struggle it takes to emerge is a part
of the life process of the moth and quickens its circulation and
develops its strength for the affairs of life afterward.  If the
feet have a steady pull to drag forth the body, they will be
strong enough to bear its weight while the wings dry and develop.

All lepidopterists mention the wet condition of the moths when they
emerge.  Some explain that an acid is ejected to soften the pupa
case so that the moth can cut its way  out; others go a step
farther and state that the acid is from the mouth.  I am extremely
curious about this.  I want to know just what this acid is and
where it comes from.  I know of no part of the thorax provided with
a receptacle for the amount of liquid used to flood a case, dampen
a moth, and leave several drops in the shell.

As soon as a moth can find a suitable place to cling after it is
out, it hangs by the feet and dries the wings and down.  Long
before it is dry if you try to move a moth or cause disturbance,
it will eject several copious jets of a spray from the abdomen
that appears, smells and tastes precisely like the liquid found in
the abandoned case.  If protected from the lightest touch it will
do the same.  It appeals to me that this liquid is abdominal,
partly thrown off to assist the moth in emergence; something
very like that bath of birth which accompanies and facilitates
human entrance into the world.  It helps the struggling moth in
separating from the case, wets the down so that it will pass the
small opening, reduces the large abdomen so that it will escape the
exit, and softens the case and silk where the moth is working.
With either male or female the increase in size is so rapid that
neither could be returned to their cases five minutes after they
have left them.

It is generally supposed that the spray thrown by a developing
moth is for the purpose of attracting others of its kind.  I have
my doubts.  With moths that have been sheltered and not even
touched by a breath of wind, this spray is thrown very frequently
before the moth is entirely dry, long before it is able to fly
and before the ovipositor is thrust out.  According to my sense of
smell there is very little odour to the spray and what there is
would be dissipated hours before night and time for the moths to
fly  and seek mates.  I do not think that the spray thrown so soon
after escape from cocoon or case is to attract the sexes, any farther
than that much of it in one place on something that it would saturate
might leave a general 'mothy' odour.  Some lepidopterists think this
spray a means of defence; if this is true I fail to see why it should
be thrown when there is nothing disturbing the moth.

Many of the spinning moths use leaves for their outer foundation.
Some appear as if snugly rolled in a leaf and hanging from a twig,
but examination will prove that the stem is silk covered to hold
the case when the leaf loosens.  This is the rule with all
Promethea cocoons I ever have seen.  Polyphemus selects a cluster
of leaves very frequently thorn, and weaves its cocoon against
three, drawing them together and spinning a support the length of
the stems, so that when the leaf is ready to fall the cocoon is
safely anchored.  When the winter winds have beaten the edges from
the leaves, the cocoon appears as if it were brown, having three
ribs with veins running from them, and of triangular shape.
Angulifera spins against the leaves but provides no support and so
drops to the ground.  Luna spins a comparatively thin white case,
among the leaves under the shelter of logs and stumps.  Io spins so
slightly in confinement that the pupa case and cast skin show
through.  I never have found a pupa out of doors, but this is a
ground caterpillar.

Sometimes the caterpillar has been stung and bad an egg placed in
its skin by a parasite, before pupation.  In such case the pupa
is destroyed by the developing fly.  Throughout one winter I was
puzzled by the light weight of what appeared to be a good Polyphemus
cocoon, and at time for emergence amazed by the tearing and
scratching inside the cocoon, until what I think was an Ophion
fly appeared.  It was honey yellow, had antennae long as its
extremely long body, the abdomen of which was curved and the
segments set together so as to appear notched.  The wings were
transparent and the insect it seems is especially designed to
attack Polyphemus caterpillars and help check a progress that
otherwise might become devastating.

Among the moths that do not feed, the year of their evolution is
divided into about seven days for the life of the moth, from
fifteen to thirty for the eggs, from five to six weeks for the
caterpillar and the remainder of the time in the pupa stage.  The
rule differs with feeding moths only in that after mating and egg
placing they take food and live several months, often until quite
heavy frosts have fallen.

One can admire to fullest extent the complicated organism, wondrous
colouring, and miraculous life processes in the evolution of a
moth, but that is all.  Their faces express nothing; their
attitudes tell no story.  There is the marvellous instinct through
which the males locate the opposite sex of their species; but one
cannot see instinct in the face of any creature; it must develop
in acts.  There is no part of their lives that makes such pictures
of mother-love as birds and animals afford.  The male finds a mate
and disappears.  The female places her eggs and goes out before her
caterpillars break their shells.  The caterpillar transforms to the
moth without its consent, the matter in one upbuilding the other.
The entire process is utterly devoid of sentiment, attachment or
volition on the part of the creatures involved.  They work out a
law as inevitable as that which swings suns, moons, and planets
in their courses.  They  are the most fragile and beautiful result
of natural law with which I am acquainted.



CHAPTER III The Robin Moth: Cecropia


When only a little child, wandering alone among the fruits and flowers
of our country garden, on a dead peach limb beside the fence I found
it--my  first Cecropia.  I was the friend of every bird, flower, and
butterfly.  I carried crumbs to the warblers in the sweetbrier; was
lifted for surreptitious peeps at the hummingbird nesting in the
honeysuckle; sat within a few feet of the robin in the catalpa;
bugged the currant bushes for the phoebe that had built for years
under the roof of the corn bin; and fed young blackbirds in the
hemlock with worms gathered from the cabbages.  I knew how to
insinuate myself into the private life of each bird that homed
on our farm, and they were many, for we valiantly battled for their
protection with every kind of intruder.  There were wrens in the
knot holes, chippies in the fences, thrushes in the brush heaps,
bluebirds in the hollow apple trees, cardinals in the bushes,
tanagers in the saplings, fly-catchers in the trees, larks in the
wheat, bobolinks in the clover, killdeers beside the creeks,
swallows in the chimneys, and martins under the barn eaves.  My
love encompassed all feathered and furred creatures.

Every day visits were paid flowers I cared for most.  I had been
taught not to break the garden blooms, and if a very few of the
wild ones were taken, I gathered them carefully, and explained to
the plants that I wanted them for my mother because she was so ill
she could not come to them any more, and only a few touching her
lips or lying on her pillow helped her to rest, and made vivid the
fields and woods when the pain was severe.

My love for the butterflies took on the form of adoration.  There
was not a delicate, gaudy, winged creature of day that did not
make so strong an appeal to my heart as to be almost painful.  It
seemed to me that the most exquisite thoughts of God for our
pleasure were materialized in their beauty.  My soul always craved
colour, and more brilliancy could be found on one butterfly wing
than on many flower faces.  I liked to slip along the bloom-bordered
walks of that garden and stand spell-bound, watching a black velvet
butterfly, which trailed wings painted in white, red, and green, as
it clambered over a clump of sweet-williams, and indeed, the flowers
appeared plain compared with it!  Butterflies have changed their
habits since then.  They fly so high!  They are all among the
treetops now.  They used to flit around the cinnamon pinks, larkspur,
ragged-robins and tiger lilies, within easy reach of little fingers,
every day.  I called them 'flying flowers,' and it was a pretty
conceit, for they really were more delicate in texture and brighter
in colouring than the garden blooms.

Having been taught that God created the heavens, earth and all
things therein, I understood it to mean a literal creation of each
separate thing and creature, as when my father cut down a tree and
hewed it into a beam.  I would spend hours sitting so immovably
among the flowers of our garden that the butterflies would mistake
me for a plant and alight on my head and hands, while I strove to
conceive the greatness of a Being who could devise and colour all
those different butterfly wings.  I would try to decide whether
He created the birds, flowers, or butterflies first; ultimately
coming to the conclusion that He put His most exquisite material
into the butterflies, and then did the best He could with what
remained, on the birds and flowers.

In my home there was a cellar window on the south, covered with
wire screening, that was my individual property.  Father placed a
box beneath it so that I could reach the sill easily, and there
were very few butterflies or insects common to eastern North
America a specimen of which had not spent some days on that screen,
feasted on leaves and flowers, drunk from saucers of sweetened
water, been admired and studied in minutest detail, and then set
free to enjoy life as before.  With Whitman, "I never was
possessed with a mania for killing things."  I had no idea of what
families they were, and I supplied my own names.  The Monarch
was the Brown Velvet; the Viceroy  was his Cousin; the Argynnis
was the Silver Spotted; and the Papilio Ajax was the Ribbon
butterfly, in my  category.  There was some thought of naming Ajax,
Dolly Varden; but on close inspection it seemed most to resemble
the gayly striped ribbons my sisters wore.

I was far afield as to names, but in later years with only a glance
at any  specimen I could say, "Oh, yes! I always have known that.
It has buff-coloured legs, clubbed antennae with buff tips, wings
of purplish brown velvet with escalloped margins, a deep band
of buff lightly traced with black bordering them, and a pronounced
point close the apex of the front pair.  When it came to books, all
they had to teach me were the names.  I had captured and studied
butterflies, big, little, and with every conceivable variety of
marking, until it was seldom one was found whose least peculiarity
was not familiar to me as my own face; but what could this be?

It clung to the rough bark, slowly opening and closing large wings
of grey velvet down, margined with bands made of shades of grey,
tan, and black; banded with a broad stripe of red terra cotta
colour with an inside margin of white, widest on the back pair.
Both pairs of wings were decorated with half-moons of white,
outlined in black and strongly flushed with terra cotta; the
front pair near the outer margin had oval markings of blue-black,
shaded with grey, outlined with half circles of white, and
secondary circles of black.  When the wings were raised I could
see a face of terra cotta, with small eyes, a broad band of white
across the forehead, and an abdomen of terra cotta banded with
snowy white above, and spotted with white beneath.  Its legs were
hairy, and the antennae antlered like small branching ferns.
Of course I thought it was a butterfly, and for a time was too
filled with wonder to move.  Then creeping close, the next time
the wings were raised above its body, with the nerveless touch
of a robust child I captured it.

I was ten miles from home, but I had spent all my life until the
last year on that farm, and I knew and loved every foot of it.  To
leave it for a city home and the confinement of school almost had
broken my heart, but it really was time for me to be having
some formal education.  It had been the greatest possible treat to
be allowed to return to the country for a week, but now my one
idea was to go home with my treasure.  None of my people had seen
a sight like that.  If they had, they would have told me.

Borrowing a two-gallon stone jar from the tenant's wife, I searched
the garden for flowers sufficiently rare for lining.  Nothing so
pleased me as some gorgeous deep red peony  blooms.  Never having
been allowed to break the flowers when that was my mother's home,
I did not think of doing it because she was not there to know.
I knelt and gathered all the fallen petals that were fresh, and
then spreading my apron on the ground, jarred the plant, not harder
than a light wind might, and all that fell in this manner it seemed
right to take.  The selection was very pleasing, for the yellow
glaze of the jar, the rich red of the petals, and the grey
velvet of my prize made a picture over which I stood trembling in
delight.  The moth was promptly christened the Half-luna, because
my father had taught me that luna was the moon, and the half moons
on the wings were its most prominent markings.

The tenant's wife wanted me to put it in a pasteboard box, but I
stubbornly insisted on having the jar, why, I do not know, but I
suppose it was because my father's word was gospel to me, and he
had said that the best place to keep my specimens was the cellar
window, and I must have thought the jar the nearest equivalent to
the cellar.  The Half-luna did not mind in the least, but went on
lazily opening and closing its wings, yet making no attempt to fly.
If I had known what it was, or anything of its condition, I would
have understood that it had emerged from the cocoon that morning,
and never had flown, but was establishing circulation preparatory
to taking wing.  Being only a small, very ignorant girl, the
greatest thing I knew for sure was what I loved.

Tying my sunbonnet over the top of the jar, I stationed myself on
the horse block at the front gate.  Every passing team was hailed
with lifted hand, just as I had seen my father do, and in as
perfect an imitation of his voice as a scared little girl making
her first venture alone in the big world could muster, I asked,
"Which way, Friend?"

For several long, hot hours people went to every point of the
compass, but at last a bony young farmer, with a fat wife, and a
fatter baby, in a big wagon, were going to my city, and they said
I might ride.  With quaking heart I handed up my jar, and climbed
in, covering all those ten miles in the June sunshine, on a board
laid across e wagon bed, tightly  clasping the two-gallon jar in my
aching arms.  The farmer's wife was quite concerned about me.  She
asked if I had butter, and I said, "Yes, the kind that flies."

I slipped the bonnet enough to let them peep.  She did not seem to
think much of it, but the farmer laughed until his tanned face was
red as an Indian's.  His wife insisted on me putting down the jar,
and offered to set her foot on it so that it would not 'jounce'
much, but I did not propose to risk it 'jouncing' at all, and
clung to it persistently.  Then she offered to tie her apron over
the top of the jar if I would put my bonnet on my  head, but I was
afraid to attempt the exchange for fear my  butterfly would try
to escape, and I might crush it, a thing I almost never had allowed
to happen.

The farmer's wife stuck her elbow into his ribs, and said, "How's
that for the queerest spec'men ye ever see?"  The farmer
answered, "I never saw nothin' like it before."  Then she said,
"Aw pshaw!  I didn't mean in the jar!"  Then they both laughed.
I thought they were amused at me, but I had no intention of
risking an injury to my Half-luna, for there had been one black
day on which I had such a terrible experience that it entailed a
lifetime of caution.

I had captured what I afterward learned was an Asterias, that
seemed slightly different from any previous specimen, and a
yellow swallow-tail, my first Papilio Turnus.  The yellow one was
the largest, most beautiful butterfly I ever had seen.  I was
carrying them, one between each thumb and forefinger, and running
with all possible speed to reach the screen before my touch could
soil the down on their exquisite wings.  I stumbled, and fell, so
suddenly, there was no time to release them.  The black one sailed
away with a ragged wing, and the yellow was crushed into a shapeless
mass in my hand.  I was accustomed to falling off fences, from trees,
and into the creek, and because my  mother was an invalid I had
learned to doctor my own bruises and uncomplainingly go my  way.
My reputation was that of a very brave little girl;  but when I
opened my hand and saw that broken butterfly, and my down-painted
fingers, I was never more afraid in my life.  I screamed aloud in
panic, and ran for my mother with all my  might.  Heartbroken, I could
not control my voice to explain as I threw myself on her couch, and
before I knew what they  were doing, I was surrounded by sisters
and the cook with hot water, bandages and camphor.

My mother clasped me in her arms, and rocked me on her breast.
"There, there, my poor child," she said, "I know it hurts dreadfully!"
And to the cook she commanded, "Pour on camphor quickly!  She is
half killed, or she never would come to me like this."  I found
my voice.  "Camphor won't do any  good," I wailed.  "It was the most
beautiful butterfly, and I've broken it all to pieces.  It must
have taken God hours studying how to make it different from all
the others, and I know He never will forgive me!"  I began sobbing
worse than ever.  The cook on her knees before me sat on her
heels suddenly.  "Great Heavens!  She's screechin' about
breakin' a butterfly, and not her poor fut, at all!"  Then I
looked down and discovered that I had stubbed my toe in falling,
and had left a bloody trail behind me.  "Of course I am!"  I
sobbed indignantly.  "Couldn't I wash off a little blood in the
creek, and tie up my toe with a dock leaf and some grass?  I've
killed the most beautiful butterfly, and I know I won't be
forgiven!"

I opened my tightly clenched hand and showed it to prove my
words.  The sight was so terrible to me that I jerked my foot from
the cook, and thrust my hand into the water, screaming, "Wash it!
Wash it!  Wash the velvet from my hand!  Oh! make it white
again!"  Before the cook bathed and bandaged my foot, she
washed and dried my hand; and my mother whispered, "God knows
you never meant to do it, and He is sorry as mother is."  So my
mother and the cook comforted me.  The remainder scattered suddenly.
It was years before I knew why, and I was a Shakespearean student
before I caught the point to their frequently calling me 'Little Lady
Macbeth!'  After such an experience, it was not probable that I
would risk crushing a butterfly to tie a bonnet on my head.  It
probably would be down my back half the time anyway.  It usually
was.  As we neared the city I heard the farmer's wife tell him
that he must take me to my home.  He said he would not do any
such a thing, but she said he must.  She explained that she knew
me, and it would not be decent to put me down where they were
going, and leave me to walk home and carry that heavy  jar.  So
the farmer took me to our gate.  I thanked him as politely as I
knew how, and kissed his wife and the fat baby in payment for
their kindness, for I was very grateful.  I was so tired I
scarcely could set down the jar and straighten my cramped arms
when I had the opportunity.  I had expected my family to be
delighted over my  treasure, but they  exhibited an astonishing
indifference, and were far more concerned over the state of my
blistered face.  I would not hear of putting my Half-luna on the
basement screen as they suggested, but enthroned it in state on
the best lace curtains at a parlour window, covered the sill with
leaves and flowers, and went to bed happy.  The following morning
my sisters said a curtain was ruined, and when they removed it to
attempt restoration, the general consensus of opinion seemed to be
that something was a nuisance, I could not tell whether it was I,
or the Half-luna.  On coming to the parlour a little later, ladened
with leaves and flowers, my treasure was gone.  The cook was sure
it had flown from the door over some one's head, and she said very
tersely that it was a burning shame, and if such carelessness as
that ever occurred again she would quit her job.  Such is the
confidence of a child that I accepted my loss as an inevitable accident,
and tried to be brave to comfort her, although my heart was almost
broken. Of course they freed my moth.  They never would have dared
but that the little mother's couch stood all day empty now, and her
chair unused beside it.  My  disappointment was so deep and
far-reaching it made me ill then they scolded me, and said I had half
killed myself carrying that heavy jar in the hot sunshine, although
the pain from which I suffered was neither in my arms nor sunburned face.

So I lost my first Cecropia, and from that day until a woman
grown and much of this material secured, in all my field work
among the birds, flowers, and animals, I never had seen another.
They had taunted me in museums, and been my envy in private
collections, but find one, I could not.  When in my field work
among the birds, so many moths of other families almost had thrust
themselves upon me that I began a collection of reproductions of
them, I found little difficulty in securing almost anything else.
I could picture Sphinx Moths in any position I chose, and Lunas
seemed eager to pose for me.  A friend carried to me a beautiful
tan-coloured Polyphemus with transparent moons like isinglass
set in its wings of softest velvet down, and as for butterflies,
it was not necessary  to go afield for them; they came to me.
I could pick a Papilio Ajax, that some of my friends were years
in securing, from the pinks in my  garden.  A pair of Antiopas spent
a night, and waited to be pictured in the morning, among the leaves
of my passion vine.  Painted Beauties swayed along my flowered walks,
and in September a Viceroy reigned in state on every chrysanthemum,
and a Monarch was enthroned on every sunbeam.  No luck was too good
for me, no butterfly or moth too rare, except forever and always
the coveted Cecropia, and by this time I had learned to my disgust
that it was one of the commonest of all.

Then one summer, late in June, a small boy, having an earnest,
eager little face, came to me tugging a large box.  He said he had
something for me.  He said "they  called it a butterfly, but he
was sure it never was."  He was eminently correct.  He had a
splendid big Cecropia.  I was delighted.  Of course to have found
one myself would have filled my cup to overflowing, but to secure
a perfect, living specimen was good enough.  For the first time my
childish loss seemed in a measure compensated.  Then, I only could
study a moth to my  satisfaction and set it free; now, I could make
reproductions so perfect that every antler of its antennae could
be counted with the naked eye, and copy its colours accurately,
before giving back its liberty.

I asked him whether he wanted money or a picture of it, and as I
expected, he said 'money,' so he was paid.  An hour later he came
back and said he wanted the picture.  On being questioned as to his
change of heart, he said "mamma told him to say he wanted the
picture, and she would give him the money."  My sympathy was with
her.  I wanted the studies I intended to make of that Cecropia
myself, and I wanted them very badly.

I opened the box to examine the moth, and found it so numb with the
cold over night, and so worn and helpless, that it could not cling
to a leaf or twig.  I tried repeatedly, and fearing that it had
been subjected to rough treatment, and soon would be lifeless, for
these moths live only a short time, I hastily set up a camera
focusing on a branch.  Then I tried posing my  specimen.  Until
the third time it fell, but the fourth it clung, and crept down a
twig, settling at last in a position that far, surpassed any
posing that I could do.  I was very  pleased, and yet it made a
complication.  It had gone so far that it might be off the plate
and from focus.  It seemed so stupid and helpless that I decided
to risk a peep at the glass, and hastily  removing the
plate and changing the shutter, a slight but most essential
alteration was made, everything replaced, and the bulb caught up.
There was only a breath of sound as I turned, and then I stood
horrified, for my Cecropia was sailing over a large elm tree in a
corner of the orchard, and for a block my gaze followed it skyward,
flying like a bird before it vanished in the distance, so quickly
had it recovered in fresh air and sunshine.

I have undertaken to describe some very difficult things, but I
would not attempt to portray my feelings, and three days later
there was no change.  It was in the height of my season of field
work, and I had several extremely interesting series of bird
studies on hand, and many  miscellaneous subjects.  In those days
some pictures were secured that I then thought, and yet feel, will
live, but nothing mattered to me.  There was a standing joke among
my  friends that I never would be satisfied with my field work
until I had made a study  of a 'Ha-ha bird,'  but I doubt if even
that specimen would have lifted the gloom of those days.  Everything
was a drag, and frequently I would think over it all in detail,
and roundly bless myself for taking a prize so rare, to me
at least, into the open.

The third day stands lurid in my memory.  It was the hottest,
most difficult day of all my years of experience afield.  The
temperature ranged from 104  to 108 in the village, and in
quarries open to the east, flat fields, and steaming swamps it
certainly could have been no cooler.  With set cameras I was
working for a shot at a hawk that was feeding on all the young
birds and rabbits in the vicinity of its nest.  I also wanted a
number of studies to fill a commission that was pressing me.
Subjects for several pictures had been found, and exposures made
on them when the weather was so hot that the rubber slide of a plate
holder would curl like a horseshoe if not laid on a case, and held
flat by a camera while I worked.  Perspiration dried, and the
landscape took on a sombre black velvet hue, with a liberal
sprinkling of gold stars.  I sank into a stupor going home,
and an old farmer aroused me, and disentangled my horse from a
thicket of wild briers into which it had strayed.  He said most
emphatically that if I did not know enough to remain indoors
weather like that, my friends should appoint me a 'guardeen.'

I reached the village more worn in body and spirit than I ever had
been.  I felt that I could not endure another degree of heat on the
back of my head, and I was much discouraged concerning my work.
Why not drop it all, and go where there were cool forests and
breezes sighing?  Perhaps my studies were not half so good as I
thought!  Perhaps people would not care for them!  For that matter,
perhaps the editors and publishers never would give the public an
opportunity to see my  work at all!

I dragged a heavy load up the steps and swung it to the veranda,
and there stood almost paralysed.  On the top step, where I could
not reach the Cabin door without seeing it, newly emerged, and
slowly exercising a pair of big wings, with every gaudy marking
fresh with new life, was the finest Cecropia I ever had seen
anywhere.  Recovering myself with a start, I had it under my net
that had waited twenty years to cover it!  Inside the door I dropped
the net, and the moth crept on my fingers.  What luck!  What extra
golden luck!  I almost felt that God had been sorry for me, and sent
it there to encourage me to keep on picturing the beauties and
wonders of His creations for people who could not go afield to see
for themselves, and to teach those who could to protect helpless,
harmless things for their use and beauty.

I walked down the hall, and vaguely scanned the solid rows of
books and specimens lining the library walls.  I scarcely
realized the thought that was in my mind, but what I was looking
for was not there.  The dining-room then, with panelled walls and
curtains of tapestry?  It was not there!  Straight to the white
and gold music room I went.  Then a realizing sense came to me.
It was BRUSSELS LACE for which I was searching!  On the most
delicate, snowiest place possible, on the finest curtain there, I
placed my Cecropia, and then stepped back and gazed at it with a
sort of "Touch it over my dead body" sentiment in my heart.
An effort was required to arouse myself, to realize that I was not
dreaming.  To search the fields and woods for twenty  years, and
then find the specimen I had sought awaiting me at my own door!
Well might it have been a dream, but that the Cecropia, clinging
to the meshes of the lace, slowly opening and closing its wings
to strengthen them for flight, could be nothing but a delightful
reality.

A few days later, in the valley of the Wood Robin, while searching
for its nest I found a large cocoon.  It was above my head, but
afterward I secured it by means of a ladder, and carried it home.
Shortly there emerged a yet larger Cecropia, and luck seemed with
me.  I could find them everywhere through June, the time of their
emergence, later their eggs, and the tiny caterpillars that
hatched from them.  During the summer I found these caterpillars,
in different stages of growth, until fall, when after their last
moult and casting of skin, they reached the final period of
feeding; some were over four inches in length, a beautiful shade of
greenish blue, with red and yellow warty projections--tubercles,
according to scientific works.

It is easy to find the cocoons these caterpillars spin, because
they are the largest woven by any moth, and placed in such a variety
of accessible spots.  They can be found in orchards, high on branches,
and on water sprouts at the base of trees.  Frequently they are spun
on swamp willows, box-elder, maple, or wild cherry.  Mr. Black once
found for me the largest cocoon I ever have seen; a pale tan colour
with silvery lights, woven against the inside of a hollow log.
Perhaps the most beautiful of all, a dull red, was found under the
flooring of an old bridge crossing a stream in the heart of the swamp,
by a girl not unknown to fiction, who brought it to me.  In a deserted
orchard close the Wabash, Raymond once found a pair of empty
cocoons at the foot of a big apple tree, fastened to the same
twigs, and within two inches of each other.

But the most wonderful thing of all occurred when Wallace Hardison,
a faithful friend to my work, sawed a board from the roof of his
chicken house and carried to me twin Cecropia cocoons, spun so
closely together they were touching, and slightly interwoven.
By the closest examination I could discover slight difference
between them.  The one on the right was a trifle fuller in the body,
wider at the top, a shade lighter in colour, and the inner case
seemed heavier.

All winter those cocoons occupied the place of state in my collection.
Every few days I tried them to see if they gave the solid thump
indicating healthy pupae, and listened to learn if they were moving.
By May they were under constant surveillance.  On the fourteenth I
was called from home a few hours to attend the funeral of a friend.
I think nothing short of a funeral would have taken me, for the moth
from a single cocoon had emerged on the eleventh.  I hurried home
near noon, only to find that I was late, for one was out, and the
top of the other cocoon heaving with the movements of the second.

The moth that had escaped was a male.  It clung to the side of the
board, wings limp, its abdomen damp.  The opening from which it
came was so covered with terra cotta coloured down that I thought
at first it must have disfigured itself; but full development
proved it could spare that much and yet appear all right.

In the fall I had driven a nail through one corner of the board,
and tacked it against the south side of the Cabin, where I made
reproductions of the cocoons.  The nail had been left, and now it
suggested the same place.  A light stroke on the head of the nail,
covered with cloth to prevent jarring, fastened the board on a log.
Never in all my life did I hurry as on that day, and I called my
entire family into service.  The Deacon stood at one elbow, Molly-Cotton
at the other, and the gardener in the rear.  There was not a second
to be lost, and no time for an unnecessary movement; for in the heat
and bright sunshine those moths would emerge and develop with amazing
rapidity.

Molly-Cotton held an umbrella over them to prevent this as much as
possible; the Deacon handed plate holders, and Brenner ran errands.
Working as fast as I could make my fingers fly in setting up the camera,
and getting a focus, the second moth's head was out, its front feet
struggling to pull up the body; and its antennae beginning to lift,
when I was ready for the first snap at half-past eleven.

By the time I inserted the slide, turned the plate holder and
removed another slide, the first moth to appear had climbed up
the board a few steps, and the second was halfway  out.  Its
antennae were nearly horizontal now, and from its position I
decided that the wings as they lay in the pupa case were folded
neither to the back nor to the front, but pressed against the body
in a lengthwise crumpled mass, the heavy front rib, or costa, on
top.

Again I changed plates with all speed.  By the time I was ready
for the third snap the male had reached the top of the board, its
wings opened for the first time, and began a queer trembling
motion.  The second one had emerged and was running into the first,
so I held my  finger in the line of its advance, and when it
climbed on I lowered it to the edge to the board beside the
cocoons.  It immediately clung to the wood.  The big pursy
abdomen and smaller antennae, that now turned forward in position,
proved this a female.  The exposure was made not ten seconds after
she cleared the case, and with her back to the lens, so the position
and condition of the wings and antennae on emergence can be seen
clearly.

Quickly as possible I changed the plates again; the time that
elapsed could not have been over half a minute.  The male was trying
to creep up the wall, and the increase in the length and expansion
of the female's wings could be seen.  The colours on both were
exquisite, but they  grew a trifle less brilliant as the moths
became dry.

Again I turned to the business of plate changing.  The heat was
intense, and perspiration was streaming from my  face.  I called
to Molly-Cotton to shield the moths while I made the change.
"Drat the moths!" cried the Deacon.  "Shade your mother!"  Being
an obedient girl, she shifted the umbrella, and by the time I was
ready for business, the male was on the logs and travelling up the
side of the Cabin.  The female was climbing toward the logs also,
so that a side view showed her wings already beginning to lift
above her back.

I had only five snapshot plates in my holders, so I was compelled
to stop.  It was as well, for surely the record was complete, and
I was almost prostrate with excitement and heat.  Several days
later I opened each of the cocoons and made interior studies.  The
one on the right was split down the left side and turned back to
show the bed of spun silk of exquisite colour that covers the inner
case.  Some say this silk has no commercial value, as it is cut
in lengths reaching from the top around the inner case and back to
the top again; others think it can be used.  The one on the left
was opened down the front of the outer case, the silk parted and
the heavy inner case cut from top to bottom to show the smooth
interior wall, the thin pupa case burst by the exit of the moth,
and the cast caterpillar skin crowded at the bottom.

The pair mated that same night, and the female began laying eggs
by noon the following day.  She dotted them in lines over the
inside of her box, and on leaves placed in it, and at times piled
them in a heap instead of placing them as do these moths in
freedom.  Having taken a picture of a full-grown caterpillar of this
moth brought to me by Mr. Andrew Idlewine, I now had a complete
Cecropia history; eggs, full-grown caterpillars, twin cocoons, and
the story of the emergence of the moths that wintered in them.  I
do not suppose Mr. Hardison thought he was doing anything unusual
when he brought me those cocoons, yet by bringing them, he made
it possible for me to secure this series of twin Cecropia moths,
male and female, a thing never before recorded by lepidopterist
or photographer so far as I can learn.

The Cecropia is a moth whose acquaintance nature-loving city
people can cultivate.  In December of 1906, on a tree, maple I
think, near No. 2230 North Delaware Street, Indianapolis, I found
four cocoons of this moth, and on the next tree, save one, another.
Then I began watching, and in the coming days I counted them by
the hundred through the city.  Several bushels of these cocoons
could have been clipped in Indianapolis alone, and there is no
reason why any other city that has maple, elm, catalpa, and
other shade trees would not have as many; so that any one who
would like can find them easily.

Cecropia cocoons bewilder a beginner by their difference in shape.
You cannot determine the sex of the moth by the size of the
cocoon.  In the case of the twins, the cocoon of the female was
the larger; but I have known male and female alike to emerge from
large or small.  You are fairly sure of selecting a pair if you
depend upon weight.  The females are heavier than the males, because
they emerge with quantities of eggs ready to deposit as soon as they
have mated. If any one wants to winter a pair of moths, they
are reasonably sure of doing so by selecting the heaviest
and lightest cocoons they can find.

In the selection of cocoons, hold them to the ear, and with a
quick motion reverse them end for end.  If there is a dull, solid
thump, the moth is alive, and will emerge all right.  If this thump
is lacking, and there is a rattle like a small seed shaking in a
dry pod, it means that the caterpillar has gone into the cocoon
with one of the tiny parasites that infest these worms, clinging
to it, and the pupa has been eaten by the parasite.

In fall and late summer are the best times to find cocoons, as
birds tear open many of them in winter; and when weatherbeaten
they fade, and do not show the exquisite shadings of silk of those
newly spun.  When fresh, the colours range from almost white
through lightest tans and browns to a genuine red, and there is a
silvery effect that is lovely on some of the large, baggy ones,
hidden under bridges.  Out of doors the moths emerge in middle May
or June, but they are earlier in the heat of a house.  They are
the largest of any species, and exquisitely coloured, the shades
being strongest on the upper side of the wings.  They differ greatly
in size, most males having an average wing sweep of five inches,
and a female that emerged in my conservatory from a cocoon that
I wintered with particular care had a spread of seven inches,
the widest of which I have heard; six and three quarters is a
large female.  The moth, on appearing, seems all head and abdomen,
the wings hanging limp and wet from the shoulders.  It at once
creeps around until a place where it can hang with the wings
down is found, and soon there begins a sort of pumping motion of
the body.  I imagine this is to start circulation, to exercise
parts, and force blood into the wings.  They begin to expand, to
dry, to take on colour with amazing rapidity, and as soon as they
are full size and crisp, the moth commences raising and lowering
them slowly, as in flight.  If a male, he emerges near ten in the
forenoon, and flies at dusk in search of a mate.

As the females are very  heavy with eggs, they usually remain
where they are.  After mating they begin almost at once to
deposit their eggs, and do not take flight until they have
finished.  The eggs are round, having a flat top that becomes slightly
depressed as they dry.  They are of pearl colour, with a touch of
brown, changing to greyish as the tiny  caterpillars develop.  Their
outline can be traced through the shell on which they make their
first meal when they emerge.  Female Cecropas average about three
hundred and fifty eggs each, that they sometimes place singly, and
again string in rows, or in captivity pile in heaps.  In freedom
they deposit the eggs mostly on leaves, sometimes the under, sometimes
the upper, sides or dot them on bark, boards or walls.  The percentage
of loss of eggs and the young is large, for they  are nowhere numerous
enough to become a pest, as they  certainly would if three hundred
caterpillars survived to each female moth.  The young feed on
apple, willow, maple, box-elder, or wild cherry leaves; and grow
through a series of feeding periods and moults, during which they
rest for a few days, cast the skin and intestinal lining and then
feed for another period.

After the females have finished depositing their eggs, they cling
to branches, vines or walls a few days, fly aimlessly at night
and then pass out without ever having taken food.

Cecropia has several 'Cousins,'  Promethea, Angulifera, Gloveri,
and Cynthia, that vary slightly in marking and more in colour.  All
are smaller than Cecropia.  The male of Promethea is the darkest moth
of the Limberlost.  The male of Angulifera is a brownish grey, the
female reddish, with warm tan colours on her wing borders.  She is
very beautiful.  The markings on the wings of both are not half-moon
shaped, as Cecropia and Gloveri, but are oblong, and largest at the
point next the apex of the wing.

Gloveri could not be told from Cecropiain half-tone reproduction by
any save a scientist, so similar are the markings, but in colour
they are vastly  different, and more beautiful.  The only living
Gloveri I ever secured was almost done with life, and she was so
badly battered I could not think of making a picture of her.  The
wings are a lovely red wine colour, with warm tan borders, and the
crescents are white, with a line of tan and then of black.  The
abdomen is white striped with wine and black.

Cynthia has pale olive green shadings on both male and female.
These are imported moths brought here about 1861 in the hope that
they  would prove valuable in silk culture.  They occur mostly
where the ailanthus grows.

My heart goes out to Cecropia because it is such a noble,
birdlike, big fellow, and since it has decided to be rare with me
no longer, all that is necessary is to pick it up, either in
caterpillar, cocoon, or moth, at any season of the year, in almost
any location.  The Cecropia moth resembles the robin among birds;
not alone because he is grey with red markings, but also he haunts
the same localities.  The robin is the bird of the eaves, the back
door, the yard and orchard.  Cecropia is the moth.  My doorstep is
not the only one they grace; my friends have found them in like
places.  Cecropia cocoons are attached to fences, chicken-coops,
barns, houses, and all through the orchards of old country  places,
so that their emergence at bloom time adds to May and June one more
beauty, and frequently I speak of them as the Robin Moth.

In connexion with Cecropia there came to me the most delightful
experience of my life.  One perfect night during the middle of
May, all the world white with tree bloom, touched to radiance with
brilliant moonlight; intoxicating with countless blending perfumes,
I placed a female Cecropia on the screen of my sleeping-room door
and retired.  The lot on which the Cabin stands is sloping, so that,
although the front foundations are low, my door is at least five feet
above the ground, and opens on a circular porch, from which steps
lead down between two apple trees, at that time sheeted in bloom.
Past midnight I was awakened by soft touches on the screen, faint
pullings at the wire.  I went to the door and found the porch,
orchard, and night-sky alive with Cecropias holding high carnival.
I had not supposed there were so many in all this world.  From
every direction they came floating like birds down the moonbeams.
I carefully removed the female from the door to a window close
beside, and stepped on the porch.  No doubt I was permeated with
the odour of the moth.  As I advanced to the top step, that lay
even with the middle branches of the apple trees, the exquisite big
creatures came swarming around me.  I could feel them on my hair,
my shoulders, and see them settling on my gown and outstretched
hands.

Far as I could penetrate the night-sky more were coming.  They
settled on the bloom-laden branches, on the porch pillars, on me
indiscriminately.  I stepped inside the door with one on each hand
and five clinging to my gown.  This experience, I am sure, suggested
Mrs. Comstock's moth hunting in the Limberlost.  Then I went back
to the veranda and revelled with the moths until dawn drove them
to shelter.  One magnificent specimen, birdlike above all the others,
I followed across the orchard and yard to a grape arbour, where I
picked him from the under side of a leaf after he had settled for
the coming day.  Repeatedly I counted close to a hundred, and then
they would so confuse me by flight I could not be sure I was not
numbering the same one twice.  With eight males, some of them fine
large moths, one superb, from which to choose, my female mated with
an insistent, frowsy little scrub lacking two feet and having torn
and ragged wings.  I needed no surer proof that she had very dim
vision.



CHAPTER IV  The Yellow Emperor:  Eacles Imperialis


Several years ago, Mr. A. Eisen, a German, of Coldwater, Michigan,
who devotes his leisure to collecting moths, gave me as pinned
specimens a pair of Eacles Imperialis, and their full life history.
Any intimate friend of mine can testify that yellow is my favourite
colour, with shades of lavender running into purple, second choice.
When I found a yellow moth, liberally decorated with lavender, the
combination was irresistible.  Mr. Eisen said the mounted specimens
were faded; but the living moths were beautiful beyond description.
Naturally I coveted life.

I was very particular to secure the history of the caterpillars
and their favourite foods.  I learned from Mr. Eisen that they
were all of the same shape and habit, but some of them might be
green, with cream-coloured heads and feet, and black face lines,
the body covered sparsely with long hairs; or they might be brown,
with markings of darker brown and black with white hairs; but they
would be at least three inches long when full grown, and would have
a queer habit of rearing and drawing leaves to their mouths when feeding.
I was told I would find them in August, on leaves of spruce, pine,
cherry, birch, alder, sycamore, elm, or maple; that they pupated in
the ground; and the moths were common, especially around lights in city
parks, and at street crossings.

Coming from a drive one rare June evening, I found Mr. William
Pettis, a shooter of oil wells, whom I frequently met while at my
work, sitting on the veranda in an animated business discussion
with the Deacon.

"I brought you a pair of big moths that I found this morning on
some bushes beside the road," said Mr. Pettis.  "I went to give
Mr. Porter a peep to see if he thought you'd want them, and they
both got away.  He was quicker than I, and caught the larger one,
but mine sailed over the top of that tree."  He indicated an elm
not far away.

"Did you know them?"  I asked the Deacon.

"No," he answered.  "You have none of the kind.  They are big as
birds and a beautiful yellow."

"Yellow!"  No doubt I was unduly emphatic.  "Yellow!  Didn't you
know better than to open a box with moths in it outdoors at night?"

"It was my fault," interposed Mr. Pettis.  "He told me not to
open the box, but I had shown them a dozen times to-day and they
never moved.  I didn't think about night being their time to fly.
I am very sorry."

So was I.  Sorry enough to have cried, but I tried my best to
conceal it.  Anyway, it might be Io, and I had that.  On going
inside to examine the moth, I found a large female Eacles
Imperialis, with not a scale of down misplaced.  Even by gas light
I could see that the yellow of the living moth was a warm canary
colour, and the lavender of the mounted specimen closer heliotrope
on the living, for there were pinkish tints that had faded from the
pinned moth.

She was heavy with eggs, and made no attempt to fly, so I closed
the box and left her until the lights were out, and then removed the
lid.  Every opening was tightly screened, and as she had mated, I did
not think she would fly.  I hoped in the freedom of the Cabin she
would not break her wings, and ruin herself for a study.

There was much comfort in the thought that I could secure her
likeness; her eggs would be fertile, and I could raise a brood
the coming season, in which would be both male and female.  When
life was over I could add her to my specimen case, for these are
of the moths that do not eat, and live only a few days after
depositing their eggs.  So I went out and explained to Mr. Pettis
what efforts I had made to secure this yellow moth, comforted him
for allowing the male to escape by telling him I could raise all I
wanted from the eggs of the female, showed him my entire collection,
and sent him from the Cabin such a friend to my work, that it was he
who brought me an oil-coated lark a few days later.

On rising early the next morning, I found my moth had deposited
some eggs on the dining-room floor, before the conservatory doors,
more on the heavy tapestry that covered them, and she was clinging
to a velvet curtain at a library window, liberally dotting it with
eggs, almost as yellow as her body.  I turned a tumbler over those
on the floor, pinned folds in the curtains, and as soon as the light
was good, set up a camera and focused on a suitable location.

She climbed on my finger when it was held before her, and was carried,
with no effort to fly, to the place I had selected, though Molly-Cotton
walked close with a spread net, ready for the slightest impulse toward
movement.  But female moths seldom fly until they have finished egg
depositing, and this one was transferred with no trouble to the spot
on which I had focused.  On the back wall of the Cabin, among some
wild roses, she was placed on a log, and immediately raised her wings,
and started for the shade of the vines.  The picture made of her as
she walked is beautiful.  After I had secured several studies she was
returned to the library curtain, where she resumed egg placing.
These were not counted, but there, were at least three hundred at a
rough guess.

I had thought her lovely in gas light, but day brought forth marvels
and wonders.  When a child, I used to gather cowslips in a bed of
lush swale, beside a little creek at the foot of a big hill on our farm.
At the summit was an old orchard, and in a brush-heap a brown thrush
nested.  From a red winter pearmain the singer poured out his own heart
in song, and then reproduced the love ecstasy of every other bird of
the orchard.  That moth's wings were so exactly the warm though
delicate yellow of the flowers I loved, that as I looked at it I could
feel my bare feet sinking in the damp ooze, smell the fragrance of the
buttercups, and hear again the ripple of the water and the mating
exultation of the brown thrush.

In the name--Eacles Imperialis--there is no meaning or appropriateness
to "Eacles"; "Imperialis"--of course, translates imperial--which seems
most fitting, for the moth is close the size of Cecropia, and of truly
royal beauty.  We called it the Yellow Emperor.  Her Imperial Golden
Majesty had a wing sweep of six and a quarter inches.  From the
shoulders spreading in an irregular patch over front and back wings,
most on the front, were markings of heliotrope, quite dark in colour:
Near the costa of the front wings were two almost circular dots of
slightly paler heliotrope, the one nearest the edge about half the size
of the other.  On the back wings, halfway from each edge, and half an
inch from the marking at the base, was one round spot of the same colour.
Beginning at the apex of the front pair, and running to half an inch
from the lower edge, was a band of escalloped heliotrope.  On the
back pair this band began half an inch from the edge and ran straight
across, so that at the outer curve of the wing it was an inch higher.
The front wing surface and the space above this marking on the back
were liberally sprinkled with little oblong touches of heliotrope;
but from the curved line to the bases of the back pair, the colouring
was pure canary yellow.

The top of the head was covered with long, silken hairs of heliotrope,
then a band of yellow; the upper abdomen was strongly shaded with
heliotrope almost to the extreme tip.  The lower sides of the wings
were yellow at the base, the spots showing through, but not the
bands, and only the faintest touches of the mottling. The thorax
and abdomen were yellow, and the legs heliotrope.  The antennae
were heliotrope, fine, threadlike, and closely pressed to the head.
The eyes were smaller than those of Cecropia, and very close together.

Compared with Cecropia these moths were very easy to paint.  Their
markings were elaborate, but they could be followed accurately,
and the ground work of colour was warm cowslip yellow. The only
difficulty was to make the almost threadlike antennae show,
and to blend the faint touches of heliotrope on the upper wings
with the yellow.

The eggs on the floor and curtains were guarded with care.  They
were dotted around promiscuously, and at first were clear and of
amber colour, but as the little caterpillars grew in them, they
showed a red line three fourths of the way around the rim, and
became slightly depressed in the middle.  The young emerged in
thirteen days.  They were nearly half an inch long, and were
yellow with black lines.  They began the task of eating until
they reached the pupa state, by turning on their shells and
devouring all of them to the glue by which they were fastened.

They were given their choice of oak, alder, sumac, elm, cherry,
and hickory.  The majority of them seemed to prefer the hickory.
They moulted on the fifth day for the first time, and changed to
a brown colour.  Every five or six days they repeated the process,
growing larger and of stronger colour with each moult, and developing
a covering of long white hairs.  Part of these moulted four times,
others five.

At past six weeks of age they were exactly as Mr. Eisen had described
them to me.  Those I kept in confinement pupated on a bed of baked
gravel, in a tin bucket.  It is imperative to bake any earth or sand
used for them to kill pests invisible to the eye, that might bore into
the pupa cases and destroy the moths.

I watched the transformation with intense interest.  After the
caterpillars had finished eating they travelled in search of a
place to burrow for a day or two.  Then they gave up, and lay
quietly  on the sand.  The colour darkened hourly, the feet and
claspers seemed to draw inside, and one morning on going to look
there were some greenish brown pupae.  They shone as if freshly
varnished, as indeed they were, for the substance provided to
facilitate the emergence of the pupae from the caterpillar skins
dries in a coating, that helps to harden the cases and protect them.
These pupae had burst the skins at the thorax, and escaped by
working the abdomen until they lay an inch or so from the skins.

What a "cast off garment" those skins were!  Only the frailest
outside covering, complete in all parts, and rapidly turning to
a dirty brown.  The pupae were laid away in a large box having a
glass lid.  It was filled with baked sand, covered with sphagnum
moss, slightly dampened occasionally, and placed where it was
cool, but never at actual freezing point.  The following spring
after the delight of seeing them emerge, they were released, for
I secured a male to complete my collection a few days later, and
only grew the caterpillars to prove it possible.

There was a carnival in the village, and, for three nights the
streets were illuminated brightly from end to end, to the height
of Ferris wheels and diving towers.  The lights must have shone
against the sky for miles around, for they  drew from the Limberlost,
from the Canoper, from Rainbow Bottom, and the Valley of the Wood Robin,
their winged creatures of night.

I know Emperors appear in these places in my  locality, for the
caterpillars feed on leaves found there, and enter the ground to
pupate; so of course the moth of June begins its life in the same
location.  Mr. Pettis found the mated pair he brought to me, on a
bush at the edge of a swamp.  They also emerge in cities under any
tree on which their caterpillars feed.  Once late in May, in the
corner of a lichen-covered, old snake fence beside the Wabash on
the Shimp farm, I made a series of studies of the home life of a pair
of ground sparrows.  They had chosen for a location a slight
depression covered with a rank growth of meadow grass.  Overhead
wild plum and thorn in full bloom lay white-sheeted against the
blue sky; red bud spread its purple haze, and at a curve, the
breast of the river gleamed white as ever woman's; while underfoot
the grass was obscured with masses of wild flowers.

An unusually fine cluster of white violets attracted me as I
worked around the birds, so on packing at the close of the day I
lifted the plant to carry home for my wild flower bed.  Below a
few inches of rotting leaves and black mould I found a lively
pupa of the Yellow Emperor.

So these moths emerge and deposit their eggs in the swamps,
forests, beside the river and wherever the trees on which they
feed grow.  When the serious business of life is over, attracted by
strong lights, they go with other pleasure seeking company, and
grace society by their royal presence.

I could have had half a dozen fine Imperialis moths during the
three nights of the carnival, and fluttering above buildings many
more could be seen that did not descend to our reach.  Raymond had
such a busy time capturing moths he missed most of the joys of
the carnival, but I truly think he liked the chase better.  One he
brought me, a female, was so especially large that I took her to
the Cabin to be measured, and found her to be six and three quarter
inches, and of the lightest yellow of any specimen I have seen.
Her wings were quite ragged.  I imagined she had finished laying
her eggs, and was nearing the end of life, hence she was not so
brilliant as a newly  emerged specimen.  The moth proved this
theory correct by soon going out naturally.

Choice could be made in all that plethora, and a male and female of
most perfect colouring and markings were selected, for my studies of
a pair.  One male was mounted and a very large female on account of
her size.  That completed my Imperialis records from eggs to
caterpillars, pupae and moths.

The necessity for a book on this subject; made simple to the
understanding, and attractive to the eye of the masses, never was
so deeply impressed upon me as in an experience with Imperialis.
Molly-Cotton was attending a house-party, and her host had chartered
a pavilion at a city park for a summer night dance.  At the close of
one of the numbers; over the heads of the laughing crowd, there swept
toward the light a large yellow moth.

With one dexterous sweep the host caught it, and while the dancers
crowded around him with exclamations of wonder and delight, he
presented it to Molly-Cotton and asked, "Do you know what it is?"

She laughingly answered, "Yes.  But you don't!"

"Guilty!" he responded.  "Name it."

For one fleeting instant Molly-Cotton measured the company.  There
was no one present who was not the graduate of a commissioned high
school.  There were girls who were students at The Castle, Smith,
Vassar, and Bryn Mawr.  The host was a Cornell junior, and there
were men from Harvard and Yale.

"It is an Eacles Imperialis Io Polyphemus Cecropia Regalis,"  she
said.  Then in breathless suspense she waited.

"Shades of Homer!"  cried the host.  "Where did you learn it?"

"They  are flying all through the Cabin at home," she replied.
"There was a tumbler turned over their eggs on the dining-room floor,
and you dared not sit on the right side of the library window seat
because of them when I left."

"What do you want with their eggs?" asked a girl.

"Want to hatch their caterpillars, and raise them until they transform
into these moths,"  answered poor Molly-Cotton, who had been taught
to fear so few living things that at the age of four she had carried
a garter snake into the house for a playmate.

"Caterpillars!"  The chorus arose to a shriek.  "Don't they sting you?
Don't they bite you?"

"No, they  don't!" replied Molly-Cotton.  "They don't bite anything
except leaves; they are fine big fellows; their colouring is exquisite;
and they evolve these beautiful moths.  I invite all of you to visit
us, and see for yourselves how intensely interesting they are."

There was a murmur of polite thanks from the girls, but one man
measured Molly-Cotton from the top curl of her head to the tip of
her slippers, and answered, "I accept the invitation.  When may
I come?"  He came, and left as great a moth enthusiast as any of
us.  This incident will be recognized as furnishing the basis on
which to build the ballroom scene in "A Girl of the Limberlost",
in which Philip and Edith quarrel over the capture of a yellow
Emperor.  But what of these students from the great representative
colleges of the United States, to whom a jumbled string made from
the names, of half a dozen moths answered for one of the commonest
of all?



CHAPTER V  The Lady Bird: Deilephila Lineata


In that same country garden where my first Cecropia was found,
Deilephila Lineata was one of my earliest recollections.  This moth
flew among the flowers of especial sweetness all day long, just as
did the hummingbirds; and I was taught that it was a bird also--the
Lady Bird.  The little tan and grey thing hovering in air before the
flowers was almost as large as the humming-birds, sipping honey as
they did, swift in flight as they; and both my  parents thought
it a bird.

They did not know the humming-birds were feasting on small insects
attracted by the sweets, quite as often as on honey, for they never
had examined closely.  They had been taught, as I was, that this
other constant visitor to the flowers was a bird.  When a child,
a humming-bird nested in a honeysuckle climbing over my mother's
bedroom window.  My father lifted me, with his handkerchief bound
across my nose, on the supposition that the bird was so delicate
it would desert its nest and eggs if they were breathed upon, to
see the tiny cup of lichens, with a brown finish so fine it resembled
the lining of a chestnut burr, and two tiny  eggs.  I well remember
he told me that I now had seen the nest and eggs of the smallest
feathered creature except the Lady Bird, and he never had found
its cradle himself.

Every summer I discovered nests by the dozen, and for several
years a systematic search was made for the home of a Lady Bird.
One of the unfailing methods of finding locations was to climb a
large Bartlett pear tree that stood beside the garden fence, and
from an overhanging bough watch where birds flew with bugs and
worms they collected.  Lady Birds were spied upon, but when they
left our garden they arose high in air, and went straight from
sight toward every direction.  So locating their nests as those
of other birds were found, seemed impossible.

Then I tried going close the sweetest flowers, those oftenest
visited, the petunias, yellow day lilies, and trumpet creepers,
and sitting so immovably I was not noticeable while I made a study
of the Lady Birds.  My first discovery was that they had no tail.
One poised near enough to make sure of that, and I hurried to my
father with the startling news.  He said it was nothing remarkable;
birds frequently lost their tails.  He explained how a bird in close
quarters has power to relax its muscles, and let its tail go in
order to save its body, when under the paw of a cat, or caught in a
trap.

That was satisfactory, but I thought it must have been a spry cat
to get even a paw on the Lady  Bird, for frequently humming-birds
could be seen perching, but never one of these.  I watched the tail
question sharply, and soon learned the cats had been after every
Lady Bird that visited our garden, or any of our neighbours, for not
one of them had a tail.  When this information was carried my father,
he became serious, but finally he said perhaps the tail was very short;
those of humming-birds or wrens were, and apparently some water birds
had no tail, or at least a very short one.

That seemed plausible, but still I watched this small and most
interesting bird of all; this bird that no one ever had seen taking
a bath, or perching, and whose nest never had been found by a person
so familiar with all outdoors as my  father.  Then came a second
discovery: it could curl its beak in a little coil when leaving a flower.
A few days later I saw distinctly that it had four wings but I could
discover no feet.  I became a rank doubter, and when these convincing
proofs were carried to my father, he also grew dubious.

"I always have thought and been taught that it was a bird,"  he said,
"but you see so clearly and report so accurately, you almost convince
me it is some large insect possibly of the moth family."

When I carried this opinion to my mother and told her, no doubt
pompously, that 'very possibly' I had discovered that the Lady
Bird was not a bird at all, she hailed it as high treason, and
said, "Of course it is a bird!"  That forced me to action.  The
desperate course of capturing one was resolved upon.  If only I
could, surely its feet, legs, and wings would tell if it were a
bird.  By the hour I slipped among those bloom-bordered walks
between the beds of flaming sweet-williams, buttercups, phlox,
tiger and day lilies, Job's tears, hollyhocks, petunias, poppies,
mignonette, and every dear old-fashioned flower that grows, and
followed around the flower-edged beds of lettuce, radishes,
and small vegetables, relentlessly trailing Lady Birds.

Pass after pass I made at them, but they  always dived and escaped
me.  At last, when I almost had given up the chase, one went nearly
from sight in a trumpet creeper.  With a sweep the flower was
closed behind it, and I ran into the house crying that at last I
had caught a Lady  Bird.  Holding carefully, the trumpet was cut
open with a pin, and although the moth must have been slightly
pinched, and lacking in down when released, I clung to it until
my mother and every doubting member of my family was convinced that
this was no bird at all, for it lacked beak, tail, and feathers,
while it had six legs and four wings.  Father was delighted that
I had learned something new, all by  myself; but I really think
it slightly provoked my  mother when thereafter I always refused
to call it a bird.  This certainly was reprehensible.  She should
have known all the time that it was a moth.

The other day a club woman of Chicago who never in her life has
considered money, who always has had unlimited opportunities for
culture both in America and Europe, who speaks half a dozen languages,
and has the care of but one child, came in her auto mobile to
investigate the Limberlost.  Almost her first demand was to see
pictures.  One bird study I handed her was of a brooding king rail,
over a foot tall, with a three-foot wing sweep, and a long curved
bill.  She cried, "Oh! see the dear little hummingbird!"

If a woman of unlimited opportunity, in this day of the world,
does not know a rail from a humming-bird, what could you expect of
my little mother, who spoke only two languages, reared twelve lusty
children, and never saw an ocean.

So by degrees the Lady Bird of the garden resolved itself into
Deilephila Lineata.  Deile--evening; phila--lover; lineata--lined;
the Lined Evening Lover.  Why 'evening' is difficult to understand,
for all my life this moth occurs more frequently with me in the fore
and early afternoon than in the evening.  So I agree with those
entomologists who call it the 'white-lined morning-sphinx.'
It is lovely in modest garb, delicately lined, but exceedingly
rich in colour.  It has the long slender wings of the Sphingid
moths, and in grace and tirelessness of flight resembles Celeus,
the swallow of the moth family.

Its head is very small, and its thorax large.  The eyes are big,
and appear bigger because set in so tiny a head.  Under its
tongue, which is a full inch long, is a small white spot that
divides, spreads across each eye, and runs over the back until even
with the bases of the front wings.  The top of the head and shoulders
are olive brown, decorated with one long white line dividing it in
the middle, and a shorter on each side.  The abdomen is a pale brown,
has a straight line running down the middle of the back, made up of
small broken squares of very dark brown, touched with a tiny mark
of white.  Down each side of this small line extends a larger one,
wider at the top and tapering, and this is composed of squares of
blackish brown alternating with white, the brown being twice the
size of the white.  The sides of the abdomen are flushed with
beautiful rosy  pink, and beneath it is tan colour.

The wings are works of art.  The front are a rich olive brown, marked
the long way in the middle by a wide band of buff, shading to lighter
buff at the base.  They are edged from the costa to where they meet
the back wings, with a line of almost equal width of darker buff,
the lower edge touched with white.  Beginning at the base, and running
an equal distance apart from the costa to this line, are fine markings
of white, even and clear as if laid on with a ruler.

The surprise comes in the back wings, that show almost entirely
when the moth is poised before a flower.  These have a small
triangle of the rich dark brown, and a band of the same at the
lower edge, with a finish of olive, and a fine line of white as a
marginal decoration.  Crossing each back wing is a broad band of
lovely pink of deeper shade than the colour on the sides.  This
pink, combined with the olive, dark browns, and white lining,
makes the colour scheme of peculiar richness.

Its antennae are long, clubbed, and touched with white at the tips.
The legs and body are tan colour.  The undersides of the wings are
the same as the upper, but the markings of brown and buffish pink
show through in lighter colour, while the white lining resembles
rows of tan ridges beneath.  Its body is covered with silky hairs,
longest on the shoulders, and at the base of the wings.

The eggs of the moth are laid on apple, plum, or woodbine leaves,
or on grape, currant, gooseberry, chickweed or dock.  During May
and June around old log cabins in the country, with gardens that
contain many of these vines and bushes, and orchards of bloom
where the others can be found the Lined Evening Lover deposits her
eggs.

The caterpillars emerge in about six days.  The tiny ovoid eggs
are a greenish yellow.  The youngsters are pale green, and have
small horns.  After a month spent in eating, and skin casting, the
full-grown caterpillar is over two inches long, and as a rule a
light green.  There are on each segment black patches, that have a
touch of orange, and on that a hint of yellow.  The horn increases
with the growth of the caterpillar, can be moved at will, and seems
as if it were a vicious 'stinger.'  But there is no sting, or any
other method of self-defence, unless the habit of raising the head
and throwing it from side to side could be so considered.  With many
people, this movement, combined with the sharp horn, is enough, but
as is true of most caterpillars, they are perfectly harmless.  Some
moth historians record a mustard yellow caterpillar of this family,
and I remember having seen some that answer the description; but all
I ever have known to be Lineata were green.

The pupae are nearly two inches long and are tan coloured.  They
usually are found in the ground in freedom, or deep under old logs
among a mass of leaves spun together.  In captivity the caterpillars
seem to thrive best on a diet of purslane, and they pupate perfectly
on dry sand in boxes.

These moths have more complete internal development than those of
night, for they feed and live throughout the summer.  I photographed
a free one feasting on the sweets of petunias in a flower bed at the
Cabin, on the seventh of October.



CHAPTER VI  Moths of the Moon:  Actias Luna


One morning there was a tap at my door, and when I opened it I
found a tall, slender woman having big, soft brown eyes, and a
winning smile.  In one hand she held a shoe-box, having many rough
perforations.  I always have been glad that my eyes softened at
the touch of pleading on her face, and a smile sprang in answer
to hers before I saw what she carried.  For confession must be
made that a perforated box is a passport to my good graces any day.

The most wonderful things come from those that are brought to my
front door.  Sometimes they contain a belated hummingbird, chilled
with the first heavy frost of autumn, or a wounded weasel caught
in a trap set for it near a chicken coop, or a family  of baby
birds whose parents some vandal has killed.  Again they carry a
sick or wounded bird that I am expected to doctor; and butterflies,
moths, insects, and caterpillars of every description.

"I guess I won't stop,"  said the woman in answer to my invitation
to enter the Cabin.  "I found this creature on my front porch
early this morning, and I sort of wanted to know what it was, for
one thing, and I thought you might like to have it, for another."

"Then of course you will come in, and we will see what it is," I
answered, leading the way into the library.

There I lifted the lid slightly  to take a peep, and then with a
cry  of joy, opened it wide.  That particular shoe-box had brought
me an Actias Luna, newly emerged, and as yet unable to fly.  I held
down my  finger, it climbed on, and was lifted to the light.

"Ain't it the prettiest thing?"  asked the woman, with stars
sparkling in her dark eyes.  "Did you ever see whiter white?"

Together we studied that moth.  Clinging to my finger, the living
creature was of such delicate beauty as to impoverish my stock of
adjectives at the beginning.  Its big, pursy body was covered
with long, furry scales of the purest white imaginable.  The wings
were of an exquisite light green colour; the front pair having a
heavy costa of light purple that reached across the back of the head:
the back pair ended in long artistic 'trailers,' faintly edged with
light yellow.  The front wing had an oval transparent mark close the
costa, attached to it with a purple line, and the back had circles
of the same.  These decorations were bordered with lines of white,
black, and red.  At the bases of the wings were long, snowy silken
hairs; the legs were purple, and the antennae resembled small,
tan-coloured ferns.  That is the best I can do at description.  A
living moth must be seen to form a realizing sense of its shape and
delicacy of colour.  Luna is our only large moth having trailers,
and these are much longer in proportion to size and of more graceful
curves than our trailed butterflies.

The moth's wings were fully expanded, and it was beginning to
exercise, so a camera was set up hastily, and several pictures of
it secured.  The woman helped me through the entire process, and
in talking with her, I learned that she was Mrs. McCollum, from
a village a mile and a half north of ours; that when she reached
home she would have walked three miles to make the trip; and
all her neighbours had advised her not to come, but she "had a
feeling that she would like to."

"Are you sorry?" I asked.

"Am I sorry!" she cried.  "Why I never had a better time in my
life, and I can teach the children what you have told me.  I'll
bring you everything I can get my fingers on that you can use,
and send for you when I find bird nests."

Mrs. McCollum has kept that promise faithfully.  Again and again
she trudged those three miles, bringing me small specimens of many
species or to let me know that she had found a nest.

A big oak tree in Mrs. McCollum's yard explained the presence of
a Luna there, as the caterpillars of this specie greatly prefer
these leaves.  Because the oak is of such slow growth it is seldom
planted around residences for ornamental purposes; but is to be
found most frequently in the forest.  For this reason Luna as a
rule is a moth of the deep wood, and so is seldom seen close a
residence, making people believe it quite rare.  As a matter of
fact, it is as numerous where the trees its caterpillars
frequent are to be found, as any  other moth in its natural
location.  Because it is of the forest, the brightest light there
is to attract it is the glare of the moon as it is reflected on
the face of a murky pool, or on the breast of the stream rippling
its way through impassable thickets.  There must be a self-satisfied
smile on the face of the man in the moon, in whose honour these
delicate creatures are named, when on fragile wing they hover above
his mirrored reflection; for of all the beauties of a June night
in the forest, these moths are most truly his.

In August of the same year, while driving on a corduroy road in
Michigan, I espied a Luna moth on the trunk of a walnut tree close
the road.  The cold damp location must account for this late
emergence; for subsequent events proved that others of the family
were as slow in appearing.  A storm of protest arose, when I stopped
the carriage and started to enter the swamp.  The remaining occupants
put in their time telling blood-curdling experiences with 'massaugers,'
that infested those marshes; and while I bent grasses and cattails
to make the best footing as I worked my way  toward the moth, I
could hear a mixed chorus "brought up thirteen in the dredge at the
cement factory the other day," "killed nine in a hayfield below
the cemetery," "saw a buster crossing the road before me, and my
horse almost plunged into the swamp," "died of a bite from one
that struck him while fixing a loose board in his front walk."

I am dreadfully afraid of snakes, and when it seemed I could not
force myself to take another step, and I was clinging to a button
bush while the water arose above my low shoes, the moth lowered
its wings flat against the bark.  From the size of the abdomen I
could see that it was a female heavily weighted with eggs.
Possibly she had mated the previous night, and if I could secure
her, Luna life history would be mine.

So I set my  teeth and advanced.  My shoes were spoiled, and my
skirts bedraggled, but I captured the moth and saw no indication of
snakes.  Soon after she was placed in a big pasteboard box and
began dotting eggs in straight lines over the interior.  They
were white but changed colour as the caterpillars approached time
to hatch.  The little yellow-green creatures, nearly a quarter of
an inch long, with a black line across the head, emerged in about
sixteen days, and fed with most satisfaction on oak, but they
would take hickory, walnut or willow leaves also.  When the weather
is cold the young develop slower, and I have had the egg period
stretched to three weeks at times.  Every few days the young
caterpillars cast their skins and emerged in brighter colour and
larger in size.  It is usually supposed they mature in four moults,
and many of them do, but some cast a fifth skin before transforming.
When between seven and eight weeks of age, they were three inches
long, and of strong blue-green colour.  Most of them had tubercles
of yellow, tipped with blue, and some had red.

They spun a leaf-cover cocoon, much the size and shape of that of
Polyphemus, but whiter, very thin, with no inner case, and against
some solid surface whenever possible.  Fearing I might not handle
them rightly, and lose some when ready  to spin, I put half on our
walnut tree so they could weave their cocoons according to
characteristics.

They are fine, large, gaudy caterpillars.  The handsomest one I
ever saw I found among some gifts offered by Molly-Cotton for the
celebration of my birthday.  It had finished feeding, soon pupated
in a sand pail and the following spring a big female emerged that
attracted several males and they posed on a walnut trunk for beautiful
studies.

Once under the oak trees of a summer resort, Miss Katherine Howell,
of Philadelphia, intercepted a Luna caterpillar in the preliminary
race before pupation and brought it to me.  We offered young oak
leaves, but they were refused, so it went before the camera.
Behind the hotel I found an empty hominy  can in which it soon began
spinning, but it seemed to be difficult to fasten the threads to the
tin, so a piece of board was cut and firmly wedged inside.  The
caterpillar clung to this and in the darkness of the can spun the
largest and handsomest Luna winter quarters of all my experience.

Luna hunters can secure material from which to learn this exquisite
creature of night, by searching for the moths on the trunks of
oak, walnut, hickory, birch or willow, during the month of June.
The moths emerge on the ground, and climb these trees to unfold and
harden their wings.  The females usually remain where they are,
and the males are attracted to them.  If undisturbed they do not
fly until after mating and egg depositing are accomplished.  The
males take wing as soon as dusk of the first night arrives, after
their wings are matured.  They usually find the females by ten
o'clock or midnight, and remain with them until morning.  I have
found mated pairs as late as ten o'clock in the forenoon.

The moths do not eat, and after the affairs of life are
accomplished, they remain in the densest shade they can find for
a few days, and fly at night, ending their life period in from
three days to a week.  Few of these gaudily painted ones have the
chance to die naturally, for both birds and squirrels prey upon
them, tearing away the delicate wings, and feasting on the big
pulpy bodies.

White eggs on the upper side of leaves of the trees mentioned are a
sign of Luna caterpillars in deep woods, and full-grown larvae can
be found on these trees in August.  By breaking off a twig on
which they are feeding, carrying them carefully, placing them in a
box where they cannot be preyed upon by flies and parasites, and
keeping a liberal supply of fresh damp leaves, they will finish
the feeding days, and weave their cocoons.

Or the cocoons frequently can be found already spun among the
leaves, by  nutting parties later in the fall.  There is small
question if Luna pupae be alive, for on touching the cocoons they
squirm and twist so vigorously that they can be heard plainly.
There is so little difference in the size of male and female Lunas,
that I am not sure of telling them apart in the cocoon, as I am
certain I can Cecropia.

Cocoon gathering in the fall is one of the most delightful
occupations imaginable.  When flowers are gone; when birds have
migrated; when brilliant foliage piles knee deep underfoot;
during those last few days of summer, zest can be added to a ramble
by a search for cocoons.  Carrying them home with extreme care not
to jar or dent them, they are placed in the conservatory among
the flowers.  They hang from cacti spines and over thorns on the
big century plant and lemon tree.  When sprinkling, the hose is
turned on them, as they would take the rain outside.  Usually
they are placed in the coolest spots, where ventilation is good.

There is no harm whatever in taking them _if the work is carefully
and judiciously done_.  With you they are safe.  Outside they have
precarious chance for existence, for they are constantly sought by
hungry squirrels and field mice, while the sharp eyes and sharper
beaks of jays, and crows, are for ever searching for them.  The only
danger is in keeping them too warm, and so causing their emergence
before they can be placed out safely at night, after you have made
yourself acquainted with Luna history.

If they are kept cool enough that they do not emerge until May
or June, then you have one of the most exquisite treats nature has
in store for you, in watching the damp spot spread on the top of
the cocoon where an acid is ejected that cuts and softens the tough
fibre, and allows the moth to come pushing through in the full
glory of its gorgeous birth.  Nowhere in nature can you find such
delicate and daintily shaded markings or colours so brilliant and
fresh as on the wings of these creatures of night.

After you have learned the markings and colours, and secured
pictures if you desire, and they begin to exhibit a restlessness,
as soon as it is dusk, release them.  They are as well prepared
for all life has for them as if they had emerged in the woods.
The chances are that they are surer of life at your hands than
they would have been if left afield, provided you keep them cool
enough that they do not emerge too soon.  If you want to
photograph them, do it when the wings are fully  developed, but
before they have flown.  They need not be handled; their wings
are unbroken; their down covering in place to the last scale;
their colours never so brilliant; their markings the plainest
they ever will be; their big pursy bodies full of life; and
they will climb with perfect confidence on any stick, twig, or
limb held before them.  Reproductions of them are even more
beautiful than those of birds.  By all means photograph them out
of doors on a twig or leaf that their caterpillars will eat.  Moths
strengthen and dry very quickly outside in the warm crisp air of
May or June, so it is necessary to have some one beside you with
a spread net covering them, in case they want to fly  before you
are ready to make an exposure.  In painting this moth the colours
always should be copied from a living specimen as soon as it is dry.
No other moth of my acquaintance fades so rapidly.

Repeatedly I am asked which I think the most beautiful of these
big night moths.  I do not know.  All of them are indescribably
attractive.  Whether a pale green moth with purple markings is
lovelier than a light yellow moth with heliotrope decorations;
or a tan and brown one with pink lines, is a difficult thing to
determine.  When their descriptions are mastered, and the colour
combinations understood, I fancy each person will find the one
bearing most of his favourite colour the loveliest.  It may be
that on account of its artistically cut and coloured trailers,
Luna has a touch of grace above any.



CHAPTER VII  King of the Hollyhocks:  Protoparce Celeus


Protoparce Celeus was the companion of Deilephila Lineata in the
country garden where I first studied Nature.  Why I was taught that
Lineata was a bird, and Celeus a moth, it is difficult to understand,
for they appear very similar when poising before flowers.  They
visit the same blooms, and vary but little in size.  The distinction
that must have made the difference was that while Lineata kept
company with the hummingbirds and fed all day, Celeus came forth at
dusk, and flew in the evening and at night.  But that did not
conclusively prove it a moth, for nighthawks and whip-poor-wills did
the same; yet unquestionably they were birds.

Anyway, I always knew Celeus was a moth, and that every big, green
caterpillar killed on the tomato vines meant one less of its kind
among the flowers.  I never saw one of these moths close a tomato
or potato vine, a jimson weed or ground cherry, but all my life
I have seen their eggs on these plants, first of a pale green
closely resembling the under side of the leaves, and if they
had been laid some time, a yellow colour.  The eggs are not dotted
along in lines, or closely  placed, but are deposited singly, or
by twos, at least very  sparsely.

The little caterpillars emerge in about a week, and then comes the
process of eating until they  grow into the large, green tomato or
tobacco worms that all of us have seen.  When hatched the
caterpillars are green, and have grey caudal horns similar to
Lineata.  After eating for four or five days, they cast their
skins.  This process is repeated three or four times, when the
full-grown caterpillars are over four inches long, exactly the
colour of a green tomato, with pale blue and yellow markings of
beautiful shades, the horns blue-black; and appearing sharp enough
to inflict a severe wound.

Like all sphinx caterpillars Celeus is perfectly harmless; but
this horn, in connexion with the habit the creatures have of
clinging to the vines with the back feet, raising the head and
striking from side to side, makes people very sure they can bite
or sting, or inflict some serious hurt.  So very vigorous are they
in self-defence when disturbed, that robins and cuckoos are the only
birds I ever have seen brave enough to pick them until the caterpillars
loosen their hold and drop to the ground, where they are eaten with
evident relish.

One cuckoo of my experience that nested in an old orchard, adjoining
a potato patch, frequently went there caterpillar-hunting, and played
havoc with one wherever found.  The shy, deep wood habits of the
cuckoo prevent it from coming close houses and into gardens, but
robins will take these big caterpillars from tomato vines.  However,
they go about it rather gingerly, and the work of reducing one to
non-resistance does not seem to be at all coveted.  Most people
exhibit symptoms of convulsions at sight of one.  Yet it is a matter
of education.  I have seen women kiss and fondle cats and dogs, one
snap from which would result in disfiguration or horrible death,
and seem not to be able to get enough of them.  But they were quite
equal to a genuine faint if contact were suggested with a perfectly
harmless caterpillar, a creature lacking all means of defence, save
this demonstration of throwing the head.

When full-fed the caterpillars enter the earth to pupate, and on
the fifteenth of October, 1906, only the day before I began this
chapter, the Deacon, in digging worms for a fishing trip to the
river, found a pupa case a yard from the tomato vines, and six
inches below the surface.  He came to my desk, carrying on a spade
a ball of damp earth larger than a quart bowl.  With all care we
broke this as nearly in halves as possible and found in the centre
a firm, oval hole, the size and shape of a hen's egg, and in the
opening a fine fresh pupa case.

It was a beautiful red-brown in colour, long and slenderer than
a number of others in my box of sand, and had a long tongue case
turned under and fastened to the pupa between the wing shields.
The sides of the abdomen were pitted; the shape of the head, and
the eyes showed through the case, the wing shields were plainly
indicated, and the abdominal shield was in round sections so that
the pupa could twist from side to sid when touched, proving that
the developing moth inside was very much alive and in fine condition.

There were no traces of the cast skin.  The caterpillar had been
so strong and had pushed so hard against the surrounding earth that
the direction from which it had entered was lost.  The soil was
packed and crowded firmly for such a distance that this large ball
was forced together.  Trembling with eagerness I hurriedly set up
a camera.  This phase of moth life often has been described, but
I never before heard of any one having been able to reproduce it,
so my luck was glorious.  A careful study of this ball of earth,
the opening in which the case lies, and the pupa, with its blunt
head and elaborate tongue shield, will convince any one that when
ready to emerge these moths must bore the six inches to the surface
with the point of the abdomen, and there burst the case, cling to
the first twig and develop and harden the wings.  The abdominal
point is sharp, surprisingly strong, and the rings of the segments
enable it to turn in all directions, while the earth is mellow
and moist with spring rains.  To force a way head first would be
impossible on account of the delicate tongue shield, and for the
moth to emerge underground and dig to the surface without displacing
a feather of down, either before or after wing expansion, is
unthinkable.  Yet I always had been in doubt as to precisely how the
exit of a pupa case moth took place, until I actually saw the earth
move and the sharp abdominal point appear while working in my garden.

Living pupae can be had in the fall, by turning a few shovels of
soil close vegetables in any country  garden.  In the mellow
mould, among cabbages and tomato vines, around old log cabins close
the Limberlost swamp, they are numerous, and the emerging moths
haunt the sweet old-fashioned flowers.

The moth named Celeus, after a king of Eleusis, certainly has
kingly qualities to justify the appellation.  The colouring is
all grey, black, brown, white and yellow, and the combinations are
most artistic.  It is a relative of Lineata.  It flies and feeds by
day, has nearly the same length of life, and is much the same in
shape.

The head is small and sharp, eyes very much larger than Lineata,
and tongue nearly four inches in length.  The antennae are not
clubbed, but long and hairlike.  It has the broad shoulders, the
long wings, and the same shape of abdomen.  The wings, front and
back, are so mottled, lined, and touched with grey, black, brown
and white, as to be almost past definite description.  The back
wings have the black and white markings more clearly defined.
The head meets the thorax with a black band.  The back is covered
with long, grey down, and joins the abdomen, with a band of black
about a quarter of an inch wide, and then a white one of equal width.
The abdomen is the gaudiest part of the moth.  In general it is a
soft grey.  It is crossed by five narrow white lines the length
of the abdomen, and a narrow black one down the middle.  Along each
side runs a band of white.  On this are placed four large yellow spots
each circled by a band of black that joins the black band of the
spot next to it.  The legs and under side of the abdomen and wings
are a light grey-tan, with the wing markings showing faintly, and
the abdomen below is decorated with two small black dots.

My first Celeus, a very large and beautiful one, was brought to
me by Mr. Wallace Hardison, who has been an interested helper
with this book.  The moth had a wing sweep of fully five and a
half inches, and its markings were unusually bright and strong.
No other Celeus quite so big and beautiful ever has come to my
notice.  From four and a half to five inches is the average size.

There was something the matter with this moth.  Not a scale of down
seemed to be missing, but it was torpid and would not fly.
Possibly it had been stung by some parasite before taking flight
at all, for it was very fresh.  I just had returned from a trip
north, and there were some large pieces of birch bark lying on the
table on which the moth had been placed.  It climbed on one of
these, and clung there, so I set up the bark, and made a time
exposure.  It felt so badly it did not even close them when I took
a brush and spread its wings full width.  Soon after it became
motionless.  I had begun photographing moths recently; it was
one of my very  first, and no thought of using it for natural
history purposes occurred at the time.  I merely  made what I
considered a beautiful likeness, and this was so appreciated
whenever shown, that I went further and painted it in water
colours.

Since moth pictures have accumulated, and moth history has
engrossed me with its intense interest, I have been very careful
in making studies to give each one its proper environment when
placing it before my camera.  Of all the flowers in our garden,
Celeus prefers the hollyhocks.  At least it comes to them oftenest
and remains at them longest.  But it moves continually and flies so
late that a picture of it has been a task.  After years of fruitless
effort, I made one passable snapshot early in July, while the light
was sufficiently strong that a printable picture could be had by
intensifying the plate, and one good time exposure as a Celeus, with
half-folded wings, clambered over a hollyhock, possibly hunting a
spot on which to deposit an egg or two.  The hollyhock painting of
this chapter is from this study.  The flowers were easy but it required
a second trial to do justice to the complicated markings of the moth.

This evening lover and strong flyer, with its swallow-like sweep of
wing, comes into the colour schemes of nature with the otter, that
at rare times thrusts a sleek grey head from the river, with the
grey-brown cotton-tails that bound across the stubble, and the
coots that herald dawn in the marshes.  Exactly the shades, and
almost the markings of its wings can be found on very old rail fences.
This lint shows lighter colour, and even grey when used in the house
building of wasps and orioles, but I know places in the country where
I could carve an almost perfectly shaded Celeus wing from a
weather-beaten old snake fence rail.

Celeus visits many flowers, almost all of the trumpet-shaped ones,
in fact, but if I were an artist I scarcely would think it right to
paint a hollyhock without putting King Celeus somewhere in the picture,
poised on his throne of air before a perfect bloom as he feasts on
pollen and honey.  The holly-hock is a kingly flower, with its regally
lifted heads of bright bloom, and that the king of moths should show
his preference for it seems eminently fitting, so we of the Cabin
named him King of the Hollyhocks.



CHAPTER VIII   Hera of the Corn: Hyperchira Io


At the same time he gave me the Eacles Imperialis moths, Mr. Eisen
presented me with a pair of Hyperchiria Io.  They were nicely mounted
on the black velvet lining of a large case in my room, but I did not
care for them in the least.  A picture I would use could not be made
from dead, dried specimens, and history learned from books is not worth
knowing, in comparison with going afield and threshing it out for
yourself in your own way.  Because the Io was yellow, I wanted it--more
than several specimens I had not found as yet, for yellow, be it
on the face of a flower, on the breast of a bird, or in the gold of
sunshine, always warms the depths of my heart.

One night in June, sitting with a party of friends in the library,
a shadow seemed to sweep across a large window in front.  I glanced
up, and arose with a cry that must have made those present doubt my
sanity.  A perfect and beautiful Io was walking leisurely across the
glass.

"A moth!" I cried.  "I have none like it!  Deacon, get the net!"

I caught a hat from the couch, and ran to the veranda.  The Deacon
followed with the net.

"I was afraid to wait," I explained.  "Please bring a piece of
pasteboard, the size of this brim."

I held the hat while the Deacon brought the board.  Then with
trembling care we slipped it under, and carefully carried the moth
into the conservatory.  First we turned on the light, and made sure
that every ventilator was closed; then we released the Io for
the night.  In the morning we found a female clinging to a shelf,
dotting it with little top-shaped eggs.  I was delighted, for I
thought this meant the complete history of a beautiful moth.  So
exquisite was the living, breathing creature, she put to shame the
form and colouring of the mounted specimens.  No wonder I had not
cared for them!

Her fore-wings were a strong purplish brown in general effect, but
on close examination one found the purplish tinge a commingling of
every delicate tint of lavender and heliotrope imaginable.  They were
crossed by escalloped bands of greyish white, and flecked with touches
of the same, seeming as if they had been placed with a brush.  The
back wings were a strong yellow.  Each had, for its size, an immense
black eye-spot, with a blue pupil covering three-fourths of it, crossed
by a perfect comma of white, the heads toward the front wings and the
curves bending outward.  Each eye-spot was in a yellow field, strongly
circled with a sharp black line; then a quarter of an inch band of
yellow; next a heliotrope circle of equal width; yellow again twice as
wide; then a faint heliotrope line; and last a very narrow edging of
white.  Both wings joined the body under a covering of long, silky,
purple-brown hairs.

She was very busy with egg depositing, and climbed to the twig
held before her without offering to fly.  The camera was carried to
the open, set up and focused on a favourable spot, while Molly-Cotton
walked beside me holding a net over the moth in case she took flight
in outer air.  The twig was placed where she would be in the deepest
shade possible while I worked rapidly with the camera.

By this time experience had taught me that these creatures of
moonlight and darkness dislike the open glare of day, and if placed
in sunlight will take flight in search of shade more quickly than
they will move if touched.  So until my Io settled where I wanted
her with the wings open, she was kept in the shadow.  Only when I
grasped the bulb and stood ready to snap, was the covering lifted,
and for the smallest fraction of a second the full light fell on
her; then darkness again.

In three days it began to be apparent there was something wrong
with the eggs.  In four it was evident, and by five I was not
expecting the little caterpillars to emerge, and they did not.
The moth had not mated and the eggs were not fertile.  Then I saw
my mistake.  Instead of shutting the female in the conservatory
at night, I should have tied a soft cotton string firmly around
her body, and fastened it to some of the vines on the veranda.
Beyond all doubt, before morning, a male of her kind would have
been attracted to her.

One learns almost as much by his mistakes as he profits by his
successes in this world.  Writing of this piece of stupidity,
at a time in my work with moths when a little thought would
have taught me better, reminds me of an experience I had with
a caterpillar, the first one I ever carried home and tried to
feed.  I had an order to fill for some swamp pictures, and was
working almost waist deep in a pool in the Limberlost, when on
a wild grape-vine swinging close to my face, I noticed a big
caterpillar placidly eating his way around a grape leaf.
The caterpillar was over four inches long, had no horn, and was
of a clear red wine colour, that was beautiful in the sunlight.
I never before had seen a moth caterpillar that was red and I
decided it must be rare.  As there was a wild grapevine growing
over the east side of the Cabin, and another on the windmill,
food of the right kind would be plentiful, so I instantly
decided to take the caterpillar home.  It was of the specimens
that I consider have almost 'thrust themselves upon me.'

When the pictures were finished and my camera carried from the
swamp, I returned with the clippers and cut off vine and
caterpillar, to carry  with me.  On arrival I placed it in a
large box with sand on the bottom, and every few hours took out
the wilted leaves, put in fresh ones, and sprinkled them to insure
crispness, and to give a touch of moisture to the atmosphere in
the box, that would make it seem more like the swamp.

My specimen was readily identified as Philampelus Pandorus, of
which I had no moth, so I took extra care of it in the hope of a
new picture in the spring.  It had a little flat head that could be
drawn inside the body like a turtle, and on the sides were oblique
touches of salmon.  Something that appeared to be a place for a
horn could be seen, and a yellow tubercle was surrounded by a
black line.  It ate for three days, and then began racing so
frantically around the box, I thought confinement must be harmful,
so I gave it the freedom of the Cabin, warning all my family to
'look well to their footsteps.'  It stopped travelling after a day
or two at a screen covering the music-room window, and there I
found it one morning lying still, a shrivelled, shrunken thing;
only half the former length, so it was carefully picked up, and
thrown away!

Of course the caterpillar was in the process of changing into the
pupa, and if I had known enough to lay it on the sand in my box,
and wait a few days, without doubt a fine pupa would have emerged
from that shrunken skin, from which, in the spring, I could have
secured an exquisite moth, with shades of olive green, flushed
with pink.  The thought of it makes me want to hide my head.
It was six years before I found a living moth, or saw another
caterpillar of that species.

A few days later, while watching with a camera focused on the nest
of a blackbird in Mrs. Corson's woods east of town, Raymond, who
was assisting me, crept to my side and asked if it would do any
harm for him to go specimen hunting.  The long waits with set
cameras were extremely tedious to the restless spirits of the boy,
and the birds were quite tame, the light was under a cloud, and
the woods were so deep that after he had gone a few rods he was
from sight, and under cover; besides it was great hunting ground,
so I gladly told him to go.

The place was almost 'virgin,' much of it impassable and fully
half of it was under water that lay in deep, murky  pools
throughout summer.  In the heat of late June everything was steaming;
insect life of all kinds was swarming; not far away I could hear
sounds of trouble between the crow and hawk tribes; and overhead
a pair of black vultures, whose young lay in a big stump in the
interior, were searching for signs of food.  If ever there was a
likely place for specimens it was here; Raymond was an expert
at locating them, and fearless to foolhardiness.  He had been gone
only a short time when I heard a cry, and I knew it must mean
something, in his opinion, of more importance than blackbirds.

I answered "Coming," and hastily winding the long hose, I started
in the direction Raymond had taken, calling occasionally to make
sure I was going the right way.  When I found him, the boy was
standing beside a stout weed, hat in hand, intently watching
something.  As I leaned forward I saw that it was a Hyperchiria Io
that just had emerged from the cocoon, and as yet was resting with
wings untried.  It differed so widely from my moth of a few days
before, I knew it must be a male.

This was only three-fourths as large as mine, but infinitely
surpassed it in beauty.  Its front wings were orange-yellow, flushed
with red-purple at the base, and had a small irregular brown spot
near the costa.  Contrary to all precedent, the under side of
these wings were the most beautiful, and bore the decorations that,
in all previous experience with moths, had been on the upper surface,
faintly showing on the under.  For instance, this irregular
brown marking on the upper side proved to be a good-sized black
spot with with white dot in the middle on the under; and there was
a curved line of red-purple from the apex of the wing sloping to
the lower edge, nearly half an inch from the margin.  The space
from this line to the base of the wing was covered with red-purple
down.  The back wings were similar to the female's, only of stronger
colour, and more distinct markings; the eye-spot and lining appeared
as if they had been tinted with strong fresh paint, while the edges
of the wings lying beside the abdomen had the long, silken hairs of
a pure, beautiful red their entire length:

A few rods away men were ploughing in the adjoining corn field, and
I remembered that the caterpillar of this moth liked to feed on corn
blades, and last summer undoubtedly lived in that very  field.  When
I studied Io history in my moth books, I learned these caterpillars
ate willow, wild cherry, hickory, plum, oak, sassafras, ash, and poplar.
The caterpillar was green, more like the spiny butterfly caterpillars
than any moth one I know.  It had brown and white bands, brown patches,
and was covered with tufts of stiff upstanding spines that pierced
like sharp needles.  This was not because the caterpillar tried to
hurt you, but because the spines were on it, and so arranged that if
pressed against, an acid secretion sprang from their base.  This
spread over the flesh the spines touched, stinging for an hour like
smartweed, or nettles.

When I identified this caterpillar in my books, it came to me that
I had known and experienced its touch.  But it did not forcibly
impress me until that instant that I knew it best of all, and that
it was my childhood enemy of the corn.  Its habit was to feed on
the young blades, and cling to them with all its might.  If I was
playing Indian among the rows, or hunting an ear with especially
long, fine 'silk' for a make-believe doll, or helping the cook
select ears of Jersey Sweet to boil for dinner, and accidentally
brushed one of these caterpillars with cheek or hand, I felt its
burning sting long afterward.  So I disliked those caterpillars.

For I always had played among the corn.  Untold miles I have
ridden the plough horses across the spring fields, where mellow
mould rolled black from the shining shares, and the perfumed air
made me feel so near flying that all I seemed to need was a high
start to be able to sail with the sentinel blackbird, that perched
on the big oak, and with one sharp 'T'check!' warned his feeding
flock, surely and truly, whether a passing man carried a gun or
a hoe.  Then came the planting, when bare feet loved the cool
earth, and trotted over other untold miles, while little fingers
carefully counted out seven grains from the store carried in my
apron skirt, as I chanted:

"One for the blackbird, one for the crow;
One for the cutworm and four to grow."

Then father covered them to the right depth, and stamped each hill
with the flat of the hoe, while we talked of golden corn bread,
and slices of mush, fried to a crisp brown that cook would make in
the fall.  We had to plant enough more to feed all the horses, cattle,
pigs, turkeys, geese, and chickens, during the long winter, even if
the sun grew uncomfortably warm, and the dinner bell was slow about
ringing.

Then there were the Indian days in the field, when a fallen eagle
feather stuck in a braid, and some pokeberry juice on the face,
transformed me into the Indian Big Foot, and I fled down green
aisles of the corn before the wrath of the mighty Adam Poe.  At
times Big Foot grew tired fleeing, and said so in remarkably
distinct English, and then to keep the game going, my sister Ada,
who played Adam Poe, had to turn and do the fleeing or be
tomahawked with a stick.

When the milk was in the ears, they were delicious steamed over
salted water, or better yet roasted before coals at the front of
the cooking stove, and eaten with butter and salt, if you have
missed the flavour of it in that form, really you never have known
corn!

Next came the cutting days.  These were after all the caterpillars
had climbed down, and travelled across the fence to spin their
cocoons among the leaves of the woods; as if some instinct warned
them that they would be ploughed up too early to emerge, if they
remained in the field.  The boys bent four hills, lashed the tassels
together for a foundation, and then with one sweep of their knives,
they cut a hill at a time, and stacked it in large shocks, that lined
the field like rows of sentinels, guarding the gold of pumpkin and
squash lying all around.  While the shocks were drying, the squirrels,
crows, and quail took possession, and fattened their sides against
snow time.

Then the gathering days of October--they were the best days of all!
Like a bloom-outlined vegetable bed, the goldenrod and ironwort,
in gaudy border, filled the fence corners of the big fields.  A
misty haze hung in the air, because the Indians were burning the
prairies to round up game for winter.  The cawing of the crows,
the chatter of blackbirds, and the piping bob-whites, sounded so
close and so natural out there, while the crowing cocks of the
barnyard seemed miles away and slightly  unreal.  Grown up and
important, I sat on a board laid across the wagon bed, and guided
the team of matched greys between the rows of shocks, and around
the 'pie-timber' as my  brother Leander called the pumpkins while
father and the boys opened the shocks and husked the ears.
How the squirrels scampered to the woods and to the business of
storing away the hickory nuts that we could hear rattling down
every frosty morning!  We hurried with the corn; because as soon
as the last shock was in, we might take the horses, wagon, and
our dinner, and go all day to the woods, where we gathered our
winter store of nuts.  Leander would take a gun along, and shoot
one of those saucy  squirrels for the little sick mother.

Last came the November night, when the cold had shut us in.  Then
selected ears that had been dried in the garret were brought down,
white for 'rivel' and to roll things in to fry, and yellow for
corn bread and mush.  A tub full of each was shelled, and sacked
to carry to the mill the following day.  I sat on the floor while
father and the boys worked, listening to their talk, as I built
corncob castles so high they toppled from their many stories.
Sometimes father made cornstock fiddles that would play a real
tune.  Oh! the pity of it that every little child cannot grow,
live, learn and love among the corn.  For the caterpillars never
stopped the fun, even the years when they were most numerous.

The eggs laid by my female never hatched, so I do not know this
caterpillar in its early stages from experience, but I had enough
experience with it in my early  stages, that I do not care if I
never raise one.  No doubt it attains maturity by the same series
of moults as the others, and its life history is quite similar.
The full-fed caterpillars spin among the leaves on the ground,
and with their spines in mind, I would much prefer finding a cocoon,
and producing a moth from that stage of its evolution.

The following season I had the good fortune to secure a male and
female Io at the same time and by persistence induced them to pose
for me on an apple branch.  There was no trouble in securing the
male as I desired him, with wings folded showing the spots, lining
and flushing of colour.  But the female was a perverse little body
and though I tried patiently and repeatedly she would not lower
her wings full width.  She climbed around with them three-fourths
spread, producing the most beautiful effect of life, but failing to
display her striking markings.  This is the one disadvantage in
photographing moths from life.  You secure lifelike effects but
sometimes you are forced to sacrifice their wonderful decorations.


CHAPTER IX  The Sweetheart and the Bride: Catocala
            Amatyix--Catocala Neogama


There are no moths so common with us as these, for throughout their
season, at any time one is wanted, it is sure to be found either
on the sweetbrier clambering over the back wall, among the
morning-glories on one side, the wistaria and wild grape on the other,
or in the shade of the wild clematis in front.  On very sunny days,
they leave the shelter of the vines, and rest on the logs of the
Cabin close the roof of the verandas.  Clinging there they appear
like large grey flies, for they are of peculiar shape, and the
front wings completely cover the back when in repose.  A third or
a half of the back wings show as they are lifted to balance the
the moths when walking over vines and uncertain footing.  They are
quite conspicuous on our Cabin, because it is built of the red cedar
of Wisconsin; were it of the timber used by our grandfathers, these
moths with folded wings would be almost indistinguishable from their
surroundings.

Few moths can boast greater beauty.  The largest specimen of the
'Sweetheart' that homes with us would measure three and one half
inches if it would spread its wings full width as do the moths of
other species.  No moth is more difficult to describe, because of
the delicate blending of so many intangible shades.  The front wings
are a pale, brownish grey, with irregular markings of tan, and dark
splotches outlined with fine deep brown lines.  The edges are fluted
and escalloped, each raised place being touched with a small spot of
tan, and above it a narrow escalloped line of brown.  The back wings
are bright red, crossed by a circular band of brownish black,
three-fourths of an inch from the base, a secondary wider band of
the same, and edged with pale yellow.

There is no greater surprise in store for a student of moths than
to locate a first Catocala Amatrix, and see the softly blended
grey front wings suddenly lift, and the vivid red of the back
ones flash out.  The under sides of the front wings are a warm
creamy tan, crossed by wide bands of dark brown and grey-brown,
ending in a delicate grey mist at the edges.  The back wings are
the same tan shade, with red next the abdomen, and crossed by
brown bands of deeper shade than the fore-wings.  The shoulders
are covered with long silky  hair like the front wings.  This is so
delicate that it becomes detached at the slightest touch of vine or
leaf.  The abdomen is slightly lighter in colour on top, and a
creamy tan beneath.  The legs are grey, and the feet to the first
joint tan, crossed by faint lines of brown.

The head is small, with big prominent eyes that see better by day
than most night moths; for Catocala takes precipitate flight at
the merest shadow.  The antennae are long, delicate and threadlike,
and must be broken very easily in the flight of the moth.  It is
nothing unusual to see them with one antenna shorter than the other,
half, or entirely gone; and a perfect specimen with both antennae,
and all the haif on its shoulders, is rare.  They have a long tongue
that uncoils like Lineata, and Celeus, so they are feeders, but not
of day, for they never take flight until evening, except when disturbed.
The male is smaller than the female, his fore-wings deeply flushed
with darker colour and the back brighter red with more black in the bands.

Neogama, another member of this family, is a degree smaller than Amatrix,
but of the same shape.  The fore-wings are covered with broken lines
of different colours, the groundwork grey, with gold flushings, the
lines and dots of the border very like the Sweetheart's.  The back
wings are pure gold, almost reddish, with dark brownish black bands,
and yellow borders.  The top of the abdomen is a grey-gold colour.
Underneath, the markings are nearly the same as Amatrix, but a gold
flush suffuses the moth.

There are numbers of these Catocala moths running the colour scheme
of-yellow, from pale chrome to umber.  Many shade from light pink
through the reds to a dark blood colour.  Then there is a smaller
number having brown back wings and with others they are white.

The only way I know to photograph them is to focus on some favourable
spot, mark the place your plate covers in length and width, and then
do your best to coax your subjects in range.  If they can be persuaded
to walk, they  will open their wings to a greater or less degree.  A
reproduction would do them no sort of justice unless the markings of
the back wings show.  It is on account of the gorgeous colourings of
these that scientists call the species 'afterwings.'

One would suppose that with so many specimens of this beautiful
species living with us and swarming the swamp close by, I would be
prepared to give their complete life history; but I know less
concerning them than any other moths common with us, and all the
scientific works I can buy afford little help.  Professional
lepidopterists dismiss them with few words.  One would-be authority
disposes of the species with half a dozen lines.  You can find at
least a hundred Catocala reproduced from museum specimens and their
habitat given, in the Holland "Moth Book", but I fail to learn what
I most desire to know: what these moths feed on; how late they
live; how their eggs appear; where they are deposited;
which is their caterpillar; what does it eat; and where and how
does it pupate.

Packard, in his "Guide to the Study of Insects", offers in
substance this much help upon the subject: "The genus is
beautiful, the species numerous, of large size, often three-inch
expansion, and in repose form a flat roof.  The larva is elongate,
slender, flattened beneath and spotted with black, attenuated at
each end, with fleshy filaments on the sides above the legs, while
the head is flattened and rather forked above.  It feeds on trees
and rests attached to the trunks.  The pupa is covered with a bluish
efflorescence, enclosed in a slight cocoon of silk, spun amongst
leaves or bark."

This will tend to bear out my contention that scientific works are
not the help they should be to the Nature Lover.  Heaven save me
from starting to locate Catocala moths, eggs, caterpillars or
pupae on the strength of this information.  I might find moths by
accident; nothing on the subject of eggs; neither colour of
body, characteristics nor food, to help identify caterpillars;
for the statement, 'it feeds on trees,' cannot be considered
exactly illuminating when we remember the world full of trees on
which caterpillars are feeding; and should one search for cocoon
encased pupae among the leaves and bark of tree-tops or earth?

The most reliable information I have had, concerning these moths
of which I know least, comes from Professor Rowley.  He is the
only lepidopterist of four to whom I applied, who could tell me
any  of the things I am interested in knowing.  He writes in
substance: "The Bride and Sweetheart are common northern species,
as are most of the other members of the group.  The Amatrix,
with its red wings, is called the Sweetheart because amor means
love, and red is love's own colour.  The caterpillar feeds on
willow.  The Catocala of the yellow "after-wings" is commonly
called the Bride, because Neogama, its scientific name, means
recently wedded.  Its caterpillar feeds on walnut leaves.

"If you will examine the under side of the body of a Catocala moth
you will find near the junction of the thorax and abdomen on either
side, large open organs reminding one of the ears of a grasshopper,
which are on the sides of the first abdominal segment.  Examine
the bodies of Sphinges and other moths for these same openings.
They appear to be ears.  Catocala moths feed on juices, and live
most of the summer season.  Numbers of them have been found sipping
sap at a tree freshly  cut and you know we take them at night with
bait.

"New Orleans sugar and cider or sugar and stale beer are the usual
baits.  This 'concoction'is put on the bodies of trees with a
brush, between eight and ten o'clock at night.  During good Catocala
years, great numbers of these moths may be taken as they feed at
the sweet syrup.  So it is proved that their food is sap, honeydew,
and other sugary liquids.  Mr. George Dodge assures me that he has
taken Catocala abbreviatella at milk-weed blooms about eight o'clock
of early July  evenings.  Other species also feed on flowers."

You will observe that in his remarks about the "open organs on the
side of the abdominal segment,"  Professor Rowley may have settled
the 'ear' question.  I am going to keep sharp watch for these organs,
hereafter.  I am led to wonder if one could close them in some way
and detect any difference in the moth's sense of hearing after
having done so.

All of us are enthusiasts about these moths with their modest
fore-wings and the gaudy brilliance of the wonderful 'after-wings,'
that are so bright as to give common name to the species.  We are
studying them constantly and hope soon to learn all we care to know
of any moths, for our experience with them is quite limited when
compared with other visitors from the swamp.  But think of
the poetry of adding to the long list of birds, animals and
insects that temporarily reside with us, a Sweetheart and a Bride!



CHAPTER X  The Giant Gamin: Telea Polyphemus


Time cannot be used to tell of making the acquaintance of this
moth until how well worth knowing it is has been explained.  That
it is a big birdlike fellow, with a six inch sweep of wing, is
indicated by the fact that it is named in honour of the giant
Polyphemus.  Telea means 'the end,' and as scientists fail to
explain the appropriateness of this, I am at liberty to indulge
a theory of my  own.  Nature made this handsome moth last, and
as it was the end, surpassed herself as a finishing touch on
creatures that are, no doubt, her frailest and most exquisite
creation.

Polyphemus is rich in shadings of many subdued colours, that so
blend and contrast as to give it no superior in the family of
short-lived lovers of moonlight.  Its front wings are a complicated
study of many colours, for some of which it would be difficult to
find a name.  Really, it is the one moth that must be seen and
studied in minutest detail to gain an idea of its beauty.  The
nearest I can come to the general groundwork of the wing is a
rich brown-yellow.  The costa is grey, this colour spreading in
a widening line from the base of the wing to more than a quarter
of an inch at the tip, and closely peppered with black.  At the
base, the wing is covered with silky  yellow-brown hairs.  As if
to outline the extent of these, comes a line of pinkish white,
and then one of rich golden brown, shading into the prevailing
colour.

Close the middle of the length of the wing, and half an inch from
the costa, is a transparent spot like isinglass, so clear that fine
print can be read through it.  This spot is outlined with a canary
yellow band, and that with a narrow, but sharp circle of black.
Then comes a cloudlike rift of golden brown, drifting from the
costa across the wing, but, growing fainter until it merges with
the general colour near the abdomen.  Then half an inch of the
yellow-brown colour is peppered with black, similar to the costa;
this grows darker until it terminates in a quarter of an inch wide
band of almost grey-black crossing the wing.  Next this comes a
narrower band of pinkish white.  The edge begins with a quarter
of an inch band of clear yellow-brown, and widens as the wing curves
until it is half an inch at the point.  It is the lightest colour
of rotten apple.  The only thing I ever have seen in nature exactly
similar was the palest shade of 'mother' found in barrels of vinegar.
A very light liver colour comes close it.  On the extreme tip is a
velvety oval, half black and half pale pink.

The back wings are the merest trifle stronger in this yellow-brown
colour, and with the exception of the brown rift are the same in
marking, only that all colour, similar to the brown, is a shade
deeper.

The 'piece de resistance' of the back wing, is the eyespot.
The transparent oval is a little smaller.  The canary band is
wider, and of stronger colour.  The black band around the lower
half is yet wider, and of long velvety  hairs.  It extends in an
oval above the transparent spot fully half an inch, then shades
through peacock blue, and grey to the hairlike black line
enclosing the spot.

The under sides of the wings are pure tan, clouded and lined with
shades of rich brown.  The transparent spots are outlined with
canary, and show a faint line drawn across the middle the long way.

The face is a tiny brown patch with small eyes, for the size of
the moth, and large brown antennae, shaped like those of Cecropia.
The grey band of the costa crosses the top of the head.  The
shoulders are covered with pinkish, yellow-brown hair.  The top
and sides of the abdomen are a lighter shade of the same.

The under side of the abdomen is darker brown, and the legs brown
with very dark brown feet.  These descriptions do the harmonizing
colours of the moth no sort of justice, but are the best I can offer.
In some lights it is a rich YELLOW-BROWN, and again a pink flush
pervades body and wings.

My first experience with a living Polyphemis (I know Telea is shorter,
but it is not suitable, while a giant among moths it is, so that
name is best) occurred several years ago.  A man brought me a living
Polyphemus battered to rags and fringes, antennae broken and three
feet missing.  He had found a woman trying to beat the clinging
creature loose from a door screen, with a towel, before the wings
were hardened for flight, and he rescued the remains.  There was
nothing to say; some people are not happy unless they are killing
helpless, harmless creatures; and there was nothing to do.

The moth was useless for a study, while its broken antennae set it
crazy, and it shook and trembled continually, going out without
depositing any eggs.  One thing I did get was complete identification,
and another, to attribute the experience to Mrs. Comstock in "A
Girl of the Limberlost", when I wished to make her do something
particularly disagreeable.  In learning a moth I study its eggs,
caterpillars, and cocoons, so that fall Raymond and I began searching
for Polyphemus.  I found our first cocoon hanging by a few threads
of silk, from a willow twig overhanging a stream in the limberlost.

A queer little cocoon it was.  The body was tan colour, and thickly
covered with a white sprinkling like lime.  A small thorn tree
close the cabin yielded Raymond two more; but these were darker in
colour, and each was spun inside three thorn leaves so firmly that
it appeared triangular in shape.  The winds had blown the cocoons
against the limbs and worn away the projecting edges of the leaves,
but the midribs and veins showed plainly.  In all we had half a dozen
of these cocoons gathered from different parts of the swamp, and we
found them dangling from a twig of willow or hawthorn, by a small
piece of spinning.  During the winter these occupied the place of
state in the conservatory, and were watched every day.  They were
kept in the coolest spot, but where the sun reached them at times.
Always in watering the flowers, the hose was turned on them, because
they would have been in the rain if they  had been left out of doors,
and conditions should be kept as natural as possible.

Close time for emergence I became very  uneasy, because the
conservatory was warm; so I moved them to my sleeping room, the
coolest in the cabin, where a fireplace, two big windows and an
outside door, always open, provide natural atmospheric conditions,
and where I would be sure to see them every  day.  I hung the twigs
over a twine stretched from my dresser to the window-sill.  One
day in May, when the trees were in full bloom, I was working on a
tulip bed under an apple tree in the garden, when Molly-Cotton said
to me, "How did you get that cocoon in your room wet?"

"I did not water any of the cocoons," I answered.  "I have done no
sprinkling today.  If they  are wet, it has come from the inside."

Molly-Cotton dropped her trowel.  "One of them was damp on the top
before lunch,"  she cried.  "I just now thought of it.  The moths
are coming!"  She started on a run and I followed, but stopped
to wash my hands, so she reached them first, and her shout told
the news.

"Hurry!" she cried.  "Hurry!  One is out, and another is just
struggling through!"  Quickly as I could I stood beside her.
One Polyphemus female, a giant indeed, was clinging to a twig with
her feet, and from her shoulders depended her wings, wet, and
wrinkled as they had been cramped in the pupa case.  Even then she
had expanded in body  until it seemed impossible that she had
emerged from the opening of the vacant cocoon.  The second one had
its front feet and head out, and was struggling frantically to
free its shoulders.  A fresh wet spot on the top of another cocoon,
where the moth had ejected the acid with which it is provided to
soften the spinning, was heaving with the pushing head of the
third.

Molly-Cotton was in sympathy with the imprisoned moths.

"Why don't you get something sharp, and split the cocoons so they
can get out?" she demanded.  "Just look at them struggle!  They
will kill themselves!"

Then I explained to her that if we wanted big, perfect moths we
must not touch them.  That the evolution of species was complete to
the minutest detail.  The providence that supplied the acid,
required that the moths make the fight necessary to emerge alone,
in order to strengthen them so they would be able to walk and
cling with their feet, while the wings drooped and dried properly.
That if I cut a case, and took out a moth with no effort on its
part, it would be too weak to walk, or bear its weight, and so
would fall to the floor.  Then because of not being in the right
position, the wings would harden half spread, or have broken
membranes and never develop fully.  So instead of doing a kindness
I really would work ruination.

"Oh, I see!" cried the wondering girl, and her eyes were large enough
to have seen anything, while her brain was racing.  If you want to
awaken a child and teach it to think, give object lessons such as
these, in natural history and study  with it, so that every
miraculous point is grasped when reached.  We left the emerging moths
long enough to set up a camera outside, and focus on old tree.  Then
we hurried back, almost praying that the second moth would be a male,
and dry soon enough that the two could be pictured together, before
the first one would be strong enough to fly.

The following three hours were spent with them, and every minute
enjoyed to the fullest.  The first to emerge was dry, and pumping
her wings to strengthen them for flight; the second was in condition
to pose, but a disappointment, for it was another female.  The third
was out, and by its smaller size, brighter markings and broad antennae
we knew it was a male.  His 'antlers' were much wider than those of
the first two, and where their markings were pink, his were so vivid
as to be almost red, and he was very furry.  He had, in fact, almost
twice as much long hair as the others, so he undoubtedly was a male,
but he was not sufficiently advanced to pose with the females, and
I was in doubt as to the wisest course to pursue.

"Hurry him up!" suggested Molly-Cotton.  "Tie a string across
the window and hang him in the sunshine.  I'll bring a fan, and
stir the air gently."

This plan seemed feasible, and when the twine was ready, I lifted
his twig to place it in the new location.  The instant I touched
his resting-place and lifted its weight from the twine both females
began ejecting a creamy liquid.  They ruined the frescoing behind
them, as my first Cecropia soiled the lace curtain when I was smaller
than Molly-Cotton at that time.  We tacked a paper against the wall
to prevent further damage.  A point to remember in moth culture, is
to be ready for this occurrence before they  emerge, if you do not
want stained frescoing, floors, and hangings.

In the sunshine and fresh air the male began to dry rapidly, and
no doubt he understood the presence of his kind, for he was much
more active than the females.  He climbed the twig, walked the
twine body pendent, and was so energetic that we thought we
dared not trust him out of doors; but when at every effort to
walk or fly he only attempted to reach the females, we concluded
that he would not take wing if at liberty.  By this time he was
fully developed, and so perfect he would serve for a study.

I polished the lenses, focused anew on the tree, marked the limits
of exposure, inserted a plate, and had everything ready.  Then I
brought out the female, Molly-Cotton walking beside me hovering
her with a net.  The moth climbed from the twig to the tree, and
clung there, her wings spread flat, at times setting them quivering
in a fluttering motion, or raising them.  While Molly-Cotton guarded
her I returned for the male, and found him with wings so hardened
that could raise them above his back, and lower them full width.

I wanted my study to dignify  the term, so I planned it to show
the under wings of one moth, the upper of the other.  Then the
smaller antennae and large abdomen of the female were of interest.
I also thought it would be best to secure the male with wings
widespread if possible, because his colour was stronger, his
markings more pronounced.  So I helped the female on a small branch
facing the trunk of the tree, and she rested with raised wings as
I fervently hoped she would.  The male I placed on the trunk, and
with wide wings he immediately started toward the female, while
she advanced in his direction.  This showed his large antennae and
all markings and points especially  note worthy; being good
composition as well, for it centred interest; but there was one
objection.  It gave the male the conspicuous place and made him
appear the larger because of his nearness to the lens and his wing
spread; while as a matter of fact, the female had almost an inch
more sweep than he, and was bigger at every  point save the antennae.

The light was full and strong, the lens the best money could buy,
the plate seven by nine inches.  By this time long practice had
made me rather expert in using my cameras.  When the advancing
pair were fully inside my circle of focus, I made the first
exposure.  Then I told Molly-Cotton to keep them as nearly as
possible where they were, while I took one breathless peep at the
ground glass.

Talk about exciting work!  No better focus could be had on them,
so I shoved in another plate with all speed, and made a second
exposure, which was no better than the first.  Had there been time,
I would have made a third to be sure, for plates are no object when
a study is at all worth while.  As a rule each succeeding effort
enables you to make some small change for the better, and you must
figure on always having enough to lose one through a defective
plate or ill luck in development, and yet end with a picture that
will serve your purpose.

Then we closed the ventilators and released the moths in the
conservatory.  The female I placed on a lemon tree in a shady spot,
and the male at the extreme far side to see how soon he would find her.
We had supposed it would be dark, but they were well acquainted by
dusk.  The next morning she was dotting eggs over the plants.

The other cocoons produced mostly female living moths, save one
that was lost in emergence.  I tried to help when it was too late;
but cutting open the cocoon afterward proved the moth defective.
The wings on one side were only about half size, and on the other
little patches no larger than my thumb nail.  The body was
shrunken and weakly.

At this time, as I remember, Cecropia eggs were the largest I had
seen, but these were larger; the same shape and of a white colour
with a brown band.  The moth dotted them on the under and upper
sides of leaves, on sashes and flower pots, tubs and buckets.  They
turned brown as the days passed.  The little caterpillars that
emerged from them were reddish brown, and a quarter of an inch
long.

I could not see my  way to release a small army of two or three
hundred of these among my plants, so when they  emerged I held a
leaf before fifty, that seemed liveliest, and transferred them to
a big box.  The remainder I placed with less ceremony, over mulberry,
elm, maple, wild cherry, grape, rose, apple, and pear, around the
Cabin, and gave the ones kept in confinement the same diet.

The leaves given them always were dipped in water to keep them
fresh longer, and furnish moisture for the feeders. They grew by
a series of moults, like all the others I had raised or seen, and
were full size in forty-eight days, but travelled a day or two
before beginning the pupa stage of their existence.  The caterpillars
were big fellows; the segments deeply cut; the bodies yellow-green,
with a few sparse scattering hairs, and on the edge of each segment,
from a triple row of dots arose a tiny, sharp spine.  Each side had
series of black touches and the head could be drawn inside the thorax.
They were the largest in circumference of any I had raised, but only
a little over three inches long.

I arranged both leaves and twigs in the boxes, but they spun
among the leaves, and not dangling from twigs, as all the cocoons
I had found outdoors were placed previous to that time.  Since,
I have found them spun lengthwise of twigs in a brush heap.  The
cocoons of these I had raised were whiter than those of the free
caterpillars, and did not have the leaves fastened on the outside,
but were woven in a nest of leaves, fastened together by threads.

Polyphemus moths are night flyers, and do not feed.  I have tried
to tell how beautiful they are, with indifferent success, and they
are common with me.  Since I learned them, find their cocoons
easiest to discover.  Through the fall and winter, when riding on
trains, I see them dangling from wayside thorn bushes.  Once, while
taking a walk with Raymond in late November, he located one on a
thorn tree in a field beside the road, but he has the eyes of an
Indian.

These are the moths that city people can cultivate, for in
Indianapolis, in early  December, I saw fully one half as many
Polyphemus cocoons on the trees as there were Cecropia, and I could
have gathered a bushel of them.  They have emerged in perfection
for me always, with one exception.  Personally, I have found more
Polyphemus than Cecropia.

These moths are the gamins of their family, and love the streets
and lights at night.

Under an arc light at Wabash, Indiana, I once picked up as beautiful
a specimen of Polyphemus as I ever saw, and the following day a
friend told me that several had been captured the night before in
the heart of town.



CHAPTER XI  The Garden Fly:  Protoparce Carolina


Protoparce Carolina is a 'cousin' of Celeus, and so nearly its
double that the caterpillars and moths must be seen together to be
differentiated by amateurs; while it is doubtful if skilled scientists
can always identify the pupa cases with certainty.  Carolina is more
common in the south, but it is frequent throughout the north.  Its
caterpillars eat the same food as Celeus, and are the same size.
They are a dull green, while Celeus is shining, and during the
succession of moults, they show slight variations in colour.

They pupate in a hole in the ground.  The moths on close
examination show quite a difference from Celeus.  They are darker
in colour.  The fore-wings lack the effect of being laid off in
lines.  The colour is a mottling of almost black, darkest grey,
lighter grey, brown, and white.  The back wings are crossed by
wavy bands of brownish grey, black, and tan colour, and the yellow
markings on the abdomen are larger.

In repose, these moths fold the front wings over the back like
large flies.  In fact, in the south they are called the 'Tobacco
Fly'; and we of the north should add the 'Tomato and Potato
Fly.'  Because I thought such a picture would be of interest, I
reproduced a pair---the male as he clung to a piece of pasteboard
in the 'fly' attitude.

Celeus and Carolina caterpillars come the nearest being pests of
those of any large moths, because they feed on tomato, potato,
and tobacco, but they also eat jimson weed, ground cherry, and
several vines that are of no use to average folk.

The Carolina moths come from their pupa cases as featherweights
step into the sparring.  They feed partially by day, and their
big eyes surely see more than those of most other moths, that
seem small and deepset in comparison.  Their legs are long, and
not so hairy as is the rule.  They have none of the blind, aimless,
helpless appearance of moths that do not feed.  They exercise
violently in the pupa cases before they burst the shields, and when
they emerge their eyes glow and dilate.  They step with firmness
and assurance, as if they knew where they wanted to go, and how to
arrive.  They are of direct swift flight, and much experience and
dexterity are required to take them on wing.

Both my Carolina moths emerged in late afternoon, about four
o'clock, near the time their kind take flight to hunt for food.
The light was poor in the Cabin, so I set up my camera and focused
on a sweetbrier climbing over the back door.

The newly emerged moth was travelling briskly in that first
exercise it takes, while I arranged my camera; so by the time
I was ready, it had reached the place to rest quietly  until
its wings developed.  Carolina climbed on my  finger with all
assurance, walked briskly from it to the roses, and clung there
firmly.

The wet wings dropped into position, and the sun dried them
rapidly.  I fell in love with my  subject.  He stepped around so
jauntily in comparison with most moths.  The picture he made while
clinging to the roses during the first exposure was lovely.

His slender, trim legs seemed to have three long joints, and two
short in the feet.  In his sidewise position toward the lens, the
abdomen showed silver-white beneath, silvery grey on the sides,
and large patches of orange surrounded by black, with touches of
white on top.  His wings were folded together on his back as they
drooped, showing only the under sides, and on these the markings
were more clearly defined than on top.  In the sunlight the fore
pair were a warm tan grey, exquisitely lined and shaded.  They
were a little more than half covered by the back pair, that folded
over them.  These were a darker grey, with tan and almost black
shadings, and crossed by sharply zig-zagging lines of black.  The
grey legs were banded by lines of white.  The first pair clung to
the stamens of the rose, the second to the petals, and the third
stretched out and rested on a leaf.

There were beautiful markings of very dark colour and white on the
thorax, head, shoulders, and back wings next the body.  The big
eyes, quite the largest of any moth I remember, reminded me of owl
eyes in the light.  The antennae, dark, grey-brown on top, and
white on the under side, turned back and drooped beside the costa,
no doubt in the position they occupied in the pupa case.

The location was so warm, and the moth dried so rapidly, that by
the time two good studies were made of him in this position, he
felt able to step to some leaves, and with no warning whatever,
reversed his wings to the 'fly'  position, so that only the top
side of the front pair showed.  The colour was very rich and
beautiful, but so broken in small patches and lines, as to be
difficult to describe.  With the reversal of the wings the
antennae flared a little higher, and the exercise of the sucking
tube began.  The moth would expose the whole length of the tube in
a coil, which it would make larger and contract by turns, at times
drawing it from sight.  When it was uncoiled the farthest, a cleft
in the face where it fitted could be seen.

The next day my second Carolina case produced a beautiful female.
The history of her emergence was exactly similar to that of the
male.  Her head, shoulders, and abdomen seemed nearly twice the
size of his, while her wings but a trifle, if any larger.

As these moths are feeders, and live for weeks, I presume when the
female has deposited her eggs, the abdomen contracts, and loses its
weight so that she does not require the large wings of the females
that only deposit their eggs and die.  They are very heavy, and
if forced to flight must have big wings to support them.  I was so
interested in this that I slightly chloroformed the female, and made
a study of the pair.  The male was fully alive and alert, but they
had not mated, and he would not take wing.  He clung in his natural
position, so that he resembled a big fly, on the smooth side of the
sheet of corrugated paper on which I placed the female.  His wings
folded over each other.  The abdomen and the antennae were invisible,
because they  were laid flat on the costa of each wing.

The female clung to the board, in any position in which she was
placed.  Her tongue readily uncoiled, showing its extreme length,
and curled around a pin.  With a camel'shair brush I gently spread
her wings to show how near they were the size of the male's, and
how much larger her body was.

Her fore-wings were a trifle lighter in colour than the male's, and
not so broken with small markings.  The back wings were very
similar.  Her antennae stood straight out from the head on each
side, of their own volition and differed from the male's.  It has
been my observation that in repose these moths fold the antennae
as shown by  the male.  The position of the female was unnatural.
In flight, or when feeding, the antennae are raised, and used as
a guide in finding food flowers.  A moth with broken antennae seems
dazed and helpless, and in great distress.

I have learned by experience in handling moths, that when I induce
one to climb upon bark, branch, or flower for a study, they seldom
place their wings as I want them.  Often it takes long and patient
coaxing, and they are sensitive to touch.  If I try to force a
fore-wing with my fingers to secure a wider sweep, so that the
markings of the back wings show, the moths resent it by closing
them closer than before, climbing to a different location or often
taking flight.

But if I use a fine camel's-hair brush, that lacks the pulsation
of circulation, and gently stroke the wing, and sides of the
abdomen, the moths seems to like the sensation and grow sleepy or
hypnotized.  By using the brush I never fail to get wing extension
that will show markings, and at the same time the feet and body
are in a natural position.  After all is said there is to say,
and done there is to do, the final summing up and judgment of any
work on Natural History  will depend upon whether it is true to
nature.  It is for this reason I often have waited for days and
searched over untold miles to find the right location, even the
exact leaf, twig or branch on which a subject should be placed.

I plead guilty to the use of an anesthetic in this chapter only
to show the tongue extension of Carolina, because it is the
extremest with which I am acquainted; and to coaxing wide wing
sweep with the camel'shair brush; otherwise either the fact that
my subjects are too close emergence ever to have taken flight,
or sex attraction alone holds them.

If you do not discover love running through every line of this
text and see it shining from the face of each study and painting,
you do not read aright and your eyes need attention.  Again and
again to the protests of my family, I have made answer--

"To work we love we rise betimes, and go to it with delight."

From the middle of May to the end of June of the year I was most
occupied with this book, my room was filled with cocoons and pupa
cases.  The encased moths I had reason to believe were on the point
of appearing lay on a chair beside my bed or a tray close my
pillow.  That month I did not average two hours of sleep in a
night, and had less in the daytime.  I not only  arose 'betimes,'
but at any time I heard a scratching and tugging moth working to
enter the world, and when its head was out, I was up and ready
with note-book and camera.  Day helped the matter but slightly,
for any moth emerging in the night had to be provided a location,
and pictured before ten o'clock or it was not safe to take it
outside.  Then I had literally 'to fly' to develop the plate,
make my print and secure exact colour reproduction while the moth
was fresh.

For this is a point to remember in photographing a moth.  A FREE
LIVING MOTH NEVER RAISES ITS WINGS HIGHER THAN A STRAIGHT LINE FROM
THE BASES CROSSING THE TOP OF THE THORAX.  It requires expert and
adept coaxing to get them horizontal with their bases.  If you do,
you show all markings required; and preserve natural values, quite
the most important things to be considered.

I made a discovery with Carolina.  Moths having digestive organs
and that are feeders are susceptible to anaesthetics in a far
higher degree than those that do not feed.  Many scientific
workers confess to having poured full strength chloroform
directly on nonfeeders, mounted them as pinned specimens
and later found them living; so that sensitive lepidopterists
have abandoned its use for the cyanide or gasoline jar.  I intended
to give only a whiff of chloroform to this moth, just enough that
she would allow her tongue to remain uncoiled until I could snap
its fullest extent, but I could not revive her.  The same amount
would have had no effect whatever on a non-feeder.



CHAPTER XII  Bloody-nose of Sunshine Hill:  Hemaris Thysbe


John Brown lives a mile north of our village, in the little hamlet
of Ceylon.  Like his illustrious predecessor of the same name he is
willing to do something for other people.  Mr. Brown owns a large
farm, that for a long distance borders the Wabash River where it is
at its best, and always the cameras and I have the freedom of his
premises.

On the east side of the village, about half its length, swings a
big gate, that opens into a long country lane.  It leads between
fields of wheat and corn to a stretch of woods pasture, lying on a
hillside, that ends at the river.  This covers many acres, most of
the trees have been cut; the land rises gradually to a crest, that
is crowned by a straggling old snake fence, velvety black in
places, grey  with lint in others, and liberally decorated its
entire length with lichens, in every shade of grey and green.
Its corners are filled with wild flowers, ferns, gooseberries,
raspberries, black and red haw, papaw, wild grapevines, and trees
of all varieties.  Across the fence a sumac covered embankment
falls precipitately to the Wabash, where it sweeps around a great
curve at Horseshoe Bend.  The bed is stone and gravel, the water
flows shallow and pure in the sunlight, and mallows and willows
fringe the banks.

Beside this stretch of river most of one summer was spent, because
there were two broods of cardinals, whose acquaintance I was
cultivating, raised in those sumacs.  The place was very secluded,
as the water was not deep enough for fishing or swimming.  On days
when the cardinals were contrary, or to do the birds justice, when
they had experiences with an owl the previous night, or with a
hawk in the morning, and were restless or unduly excited, much
grist for my camera could be found on the river banks.

These were the most beautiful anywhere in my locality.  The hum of
busy life was incessant.  From the top twig of the giant sycamore
in Rainbow Bottom, the father of the cardinal flock hourly
challenged all creation to contest his right to one particular
sumac.  The cardinals were the attraction there; across the fence
where the hill sloped the length of the pasture to the lane, lures
were many and imperative.  Despite a few large trees, compelling
right to life by their majesty, that hillside was open pasture,
where the sunshine streamed all day long.  Wild roses clambered
over stumps of fallen monarchs, and scrub oak sheltered resting
sheep.  As it swept to the crest, the hillside was thickly dotted
with mullein, its pale yellow-green leaves spreading over the grass,
and its spiral of canary-coloured bloom stiffly  upstanding.  There
were thistles, the big, rank, richly growing, kind, that browsing
cattle and sheep circled widely.

Very beautiful were these frosted thistles, with their large,
widespreading base leaves, each spine needle-tipped, their uplifted
heads of delicate purple bloom, and their floating globes of silken
down, with a seed in their hearts.  No wonder artists have painted
them, decorators conventionalized them; even potters could not pass
by their artistic merit, for I remembered that in a china closet at
home there were Belleck cups moulded in the shape of a thistle head.

Experience had taught me how the appreciate this plant.  There
was a chewink in the Stanley  woods, that brought off a brood of four,
under the safe shelter of a rank thistle leaf, in the midst of
trampling herds of cattle driven wild by flies.  There was a ground
sparrow near the Hale sand pit, covered by a base leaf of another
thistle, and beneath a third on Bob's lease, I had made a study of
an exquisite nest.  Protection from the rank leaves was not all the
birds sought of these plants, for goldfinches were darting around
inviting all creation to "See me?" as they  gathered the silken
down for nest lining.  Over the sweetly perfumed purple heads, the
humming-birds held high carnival on Sunshine Hillside all the day.
The honey and bumble bees fled at the birds' approach, but what
were these others, numerous everywhere, that clung to the blooms,
greedily thrusting their red noses between the petals, and giving
place to nothing else?

For days as I passed among them, I thought them huge bees.  The
bright colouring of their golden olive-green, and red-wine striped
bodies had attracted me in passing.  Then one of them approached a
thistle head opposite me in such a way its antennae and the long
tongue it thrust into the bloom could be seen.  That proved it was
not a bee, and punishment did not await any one who touched it.

There were so many that with one sweep of the net two were captured.
They were examined to my satisfaction and astonishment.  They were
moths!  Truly  moths, feeding in the brilliant sunshine all the day;
bearing a degree of light and heat I never had known any other moth
to endure.  Talk about exquisite creatures!  These little day moths,
not much larger than the largest bumble bees, had some of their
gaudiest competitors of moonlight and darkness outdone.

The head was small and pointed, with big eyes, a long tongue,
clubbed antennae, and a blood-red nose.  The thorax above was
covered with long, silky, olive-green hair; the top of the abdomen
had half an inch band of warm tan colour, then a quarter of an inch
band of velvety red wine, then a band nearer the olive of the
shoulders.  The males had claspers covered with small red-wine
feathers tan tipped.  The thorax was cream-coloured below and the
under side of the abdomen red wine crossed with cream-coloured
lines at each segment.

The front wings had the usual long, silky hairs.  They were of
olive-green shading into red, at the base, the costa was red, and
an escalloped band of red bordered them.  The intervening space was
transparent like thinnest isinglass, and crossed with fine red
veins.  The back wings were the same, only the hairs at the base
were lighter red, and the band at the edge deeper in colour.

The head of the male seemed sharper, the shoulders stronger olive,
the wings more pointed at the apex, where the female's were a
little rounded.  The top of the abdomen had the middle band of such
strong red that it threw the same colour over the bands above and
below it; giving to the whole moth a strong red appearance when
on wing.  They, were so fascinating the birds were forgotten, and
the hillside hunted for them until a pair were secured to carry
home for identification, before the whistle of the cardinal from
Rainbow Bottom rang so sharply that I remembered this was the day
I had hoped to secure his likeness; and here I was allowing a
little red-nosed moth so to thrust itself upon my attention, that
my cameras were not even set up and focused on the sumac.

This tiny sunshine moth, Hemaris Thysbe, was easy of identification,
and its whole life history before me on the hillside.  I was too busy
with the birds to raise many caterpillars, so reference to several
books taught me that they all agreed on the main points of Hemaris
history.

Hemaris means 'bloody nose.'  'Bloody nose' on account of the
red first noticed on the face, though some writers called them
'Clear wings,'  because of the transparent spaces on the wings.
Certainly 'clear wings' is a most appropriate and poetic name for
this moth.  Fastidious people will undoubtedly prefer it for
common usage.  For myself, I always think of the delicate, gaudy
little creature, greedily  thrusting its blood-red nose into the
purple thistle blooms; so to my thought it returns as 'bloody
nose.'

The pairs mate early after emerging, and lay about two hundred
small eggs to the female, from which the caterpillars soon hatch,
and begin their succession of moults.  One writer gave black haw
and snowball as their favourite foods, and the length of the
caterpillar when full grown nearly two inches.  They are either
a light brown with yellow markings, or green with yellow; all of
them have white granules on the body, and a blue-black horn with
a yellow base.  They spin among the leaves on the ground, and the
pupa, while small, is shaped like Regalis, except that it has a
sharper point at each end, and more prominent wing shields.  It
has no raised tongue case, although it belongs to the family of
'long tongues.'

On learning all I could acquire by experience with these moths,
and what the books had to teach, I became their warm admirer.  One
sunny morning climbing the hill on the way to the cardinals, with
fresh plates in my cameras, and high hopes in my heart, I passed
an unsually large fine thistle, with half a dozen Thysbe moths
fluttering over it as if nearly crazed with fragrance, or honey
they were sipping.

"Come here!  Come here!  Come here!" intoned the cardinal, from
the sycamore of Rainbow Bottom.

"Just you wait a second, old fellow!"  I heard myself answering.
Scarcely realizing what I was doing, the tripod was set up, the
best camera taken out, and focused on that thistle head.  The
moths paid no attention to bees, butterflies, or humming-birds
visiting the thistle, but this was too formidable, and by the
time the choicest heads were in focus, all the little red fellows
had darted to another plant.  If the camera was moved there, they
would change again, so I sat in the shade of a clump of papaws to
wait and see if they would not grow accustomed to it.

They kept me longer than I had expected, and the chances are I
would have answered the cardinal's call, and gone to the river,
had it not been for the interest found in watching a beautiful grey
squirrel that homed in an ivy-covered stump in the pasture.  He
seemed to have much business on the fence at the hilltop, and raced
back and forth to it repeatedly.  He carried something, I could not
always tell what, but at times it was green haws.  Once he came
with no food, and at such a headlong run that he almost turned
somersaults as he scampered up the tree.

For a long time he was quiet, then he cautiously peeped out.
After a while he ventured to the ground, raced to a dead stump,
and sitting on it, barked and scolded with all his might.  Then he
darted home again.  When he had repeated this performance several
times, the idea became apparent.  There was some danger to be
defied in Rainbow Bottom, but not a sound must be made from his home.
The bark of a dog hurried me to the fence in time to see some hunters
passing in the bottom, but I thanked mercy they  were on the
opposite side of the river and it was not probable they would
wade, so my birds would not be disturbed.  When the squirrel felt
that he must bark and chatter, or burst with tense emotions, he
discreetly left his mate and nest.  I did some serious thinking on
the 'instinct'  question.  He might choose a hollow log for his
home by instinct, or eat certain foods because hunger urged him,
but could instinct teach him not to make a sound where his young
family lay?  Without a doubt, for this same reason, the cardinal
sang from every tree and bush around Horseshoe Bend, save the
sumac where his mate hovered their young.

The matter presented itself in this way.  The squirrel has feet,
and he runs with them.  He has teeth, and he eats with them.  He
has lungs, and he breathes with them.  Every organ of his interior
has its purpose, and is used to fulfil it.  His big, prominent eyes
come from long residence in dark hollows.  His bushy tail helps
him in long jumps from tree to tree.  Every part of his anatomy is
created, designed and used to serve some purpose, save only his
brain, the most complex and complicated part of him.  Its only use
and purpose is to form one small 'tidbit' for the palate of the
epicure!  Like Sir Francis, who preached a sermon to the birds,
I found me delivering myself of a lecture to the squirrels, birds,
and moths of Sunshine Hill.  The final summing up was, that the
squirrel used his feet, teeth, eyes and tail; that could be seen
easily, and by his actions it could be seen just as clearly  that
he used his brain also.

There was not a Thysbe in front of the lens, so picking up a long
cudgel I always carry  afield, and going quietly to surrounding
thistles, I jarred them lightly  with it, and began rounding up the
Hemaris family in the direction of the camera.  The trick was a
complete success.  Soon I had an exposure on two.  After they had
faced the camera once, and experienced no injury, like the birds,
they accepted it as part of the landscape.  The work was so
fascinating, and the pictures on the ground glass so worth while,
that before I realized what I was doing, half a dozen large plates
were gone, and for this reason, work with the cardinals that day
ended at noon.  This is why I feel that at times in bird work the
moths literally 'thrust themselves' upon me.



CHAPTER XIII  The Modest Moth:  Triptogon Modesta


Of course this moth was named Modesta because of modest colouring.
It reminds me of a dove, being one of my prime favourites.  On wing
it is suggestive of Polyphemus, but its colours are lighter and softer.
Great beauty that Polyphemus is, Modesta equals it.

Modesta belongs to the genus Triptogon, species Modesta--hence the
common name, the Modest moth.  I am told that in the east this moth
is of stronger colouring than in the central and western states.  I
do not know about the centre and west, but I do know that only as
far east as Indiana, Modesta is of more delicate colouring than it
is described by scientists of New York and Pennsylvania; and,
of course, as in almost every case, the female is not so strongly
coloured as the male.

I can class the Modest moth and its caterpillar among those I know,
but my acquaintance with it is more limited than with almost any other.
My first introduction came when I found a caterpillar of striking
appearance on water sprouts growing around a poplar stump in a
stretch of trees beside the Wabash.  I carried it home with a
supply of the leaves for diet, but as a matter of luck, it had
finished eating, and was ready to pupate.  I write of this as good
luck, because the poplar tree is almost extinct in my location.  I
know of only one in the fields, those beside the river, and a few
used for ornamental shade trees.  They are so scarce I would have
had trouble to provide the caterpillar with natural food; so I
was glad that it was ready to pupate when found.

Any one can identify this caterpillar easily, as it is most
peculiar.  There is a purplish pink cast on the head and mouth of
the full-grown caterpillar, and purplish red around the props.  The
body is a very light blue-green, faintly tinged with white, and
yellow in places.  On the sides are white obliques, or white,
shaded with pink, and at the base of these, a small oval marking.
There is a small short horn on the head.  But the distinguishing
mark is a mass of little white granules, scattered all over the
caterpillar.  It is so peppered with these, that failure to
identify it is impossible.

These caterpillars pupate in the ground.  I knew that, but this
was before I had learned that the caterpillar worked out a hole in
the ground, and the pupa case only touched the earth upon which it
lay.  So when my Modesta caterpillar ceased crawling, lay quietly,
turned dark, shrank one half in length, and finally
burst the dead skin, and emerged in a shining dark brown pupa case
two inches long, I got in my  work.  I did well.  A spade full of
garden soil was thoroughly sifted, baked in the oven to kill
parasites and insects, cooled, and put in a box, and the pupa case
buried in it.  Every time it rained, I opened the box, and moistened
the earth.  Two months after time for emergence, I dug out the pupa
case to find it white with mould.  I had no idea what the trouble
was, for I had done much work over that case, and the whole winter
tended it solicitously.  It was one of my  earliest attempts, and
I never have found another caterpillar, or any  eggs, though I
often search the poplars for them.

However, something better happened.  I say better, because I think
if they will make honest confession, all people who have gathered
eggs and raised caterpillars from them in confinement, by feeding
cut leaves, will admit that the pupa cases they get, and the moths
they produce are only about half size.  The big fine cases and
cocoons are the ones you find made by caterpillars in freedom, or
by those that have passed at least the fourth or fifth moult out
of doors.  So it was a better thing for my illustration, and for
my painting, when in June of this year, Raymond, in crossing town
from a ball game, found a large, perfect Modesta female.  He
secured her in his hat, and hurried to me.  Raymond's hat has had
many wonderful things in it besides his head, and his pockets are
always lumpy with boxes.

Although perfect, she had mated, deposited her eggs, and was
declining.  All she wanted was to be left alone, and she would sit
with wings widespread wherever placed.  I was in the orchard,
treating myself to some rare big musky red raspberries that are my
especial property, when Raymond came with her.  He set her on a
shoot before me, and guarded her while I arranged a camera.  She
was the most complacent subject I ever handled outdoors, and did
not make even an attempt to fly.  Raymond was supposed to be
watching while I worked, but our confidence in her was so great,
that I paid all my attention to polishing my lenses, and getting
good light, while Raymond gathered berries with one hand, and
promiscuously waved the net over the bushes with the other.

During the first exposure, Modesta was allowed to place and poise
herself as seemed natural.  For a second, I used the brush on her
gently, and coaxed her wings into spreading a little wider than was
natural.  These positions gave every evidence of being pleasing
and yet I was not satisfied.  There was something else in the back
of my head that kept obtruding itself as I walked to the Cabin,
with the beautiful moth clinging to my fingers.  I did not feel
quite happy about her, so she was placed in a large box, lined
with corrugated paper, to wait a while until the mist in my brain
cleared, and my nebulous disturbance evolved an idea.  It came
slowly.  I had a caterpillar long ago, and had investigated the
history of this moth.  I asked Raymond where he found her and he
said, "Coming from the game."  Now I questioned him about the kind
of a tree, and he promptly  answered, "On one of those poplars
behind the schoolhouse."

That was the clue.  Instantly I recognized it.  A poplar limb was
what I wanted.  Its fine, glossy leaf, flattened stem, and smooth
upright twigs made a setting, appropriate, above all others, for
the Modest moth.

I explained the situation to the Deacon, and he had Brenner drive
with him to the Hirschy farm, and help secure a limb from one of
the very few Lombardy poplars of this region.  They drove very
fast, and I had to trouble to induce Modesta to clamber over a
poplar twig, and settle.  Then by gently stroking, an unusual
wing sweep was secured, because there is a wonderful purple-pink
and a peculiar blue on the back wings.

It has been my experience that the longer a moth of these big
short-lived subjects remains out of doors, the paler its colours
become, and most of them fade rapidly when mounted, if not kept in
the dark.  So my Modesta may have been slightly  faded, but she
could have been several shades paler and yet appeared most
beautiful to me.

Her head, shoulders, and abdomen were a lovely dove grey; that
soft tan grey, with a warm shade, almost suggestive of pink.  I
suppose the reason I thought of this was because at the time two
pairs of doves, one on a heap of driftwood overhanging the river,
and the other in an apple tree in the Aspy  orchard a few rods
away, were giving me much trouble, and I had dove grey on my
mind.

This same dove grey coloured the basic third of the fore-wings.
Then they were crossed with a band only a little less in width,
of rich cinnamon brown.  There was a narrow wavy line of lighter
brown, and the remaining third of the wing was paler, but with
darker shadings.  These four distinct colour divisions were
exquisitely blended, and on the darkest band, near the costa,
was a tiny white half moon.  The under sides of the fore-wings
were a delicate brownish grey, with heavy flushings of a purplish
pink, a most beautiful colour.

The back wings were dove colour near the abdomen, more of a mouse
colour around the edges, and beginning strongly at the base, and
spreading in lighter shade over the wing, was the same purplish
pink of the front under-wing, only much stronger.  Near the
abdomen, a little below half the length, and adjoining the grey;
each wing had a mark difficult to describe in shape, and of rich
blue colour.

The antennae stood up stoutly, and were of dove grey on one side,
and white on the other.  The thorax, legs, and under side of the
abdomen were more of the mouse grey in colour.  Over the whole
moth in strong light, there was an almost intangible flushing of
palest purplish pink.  It may have shaded through the fore-wing
from beneath, and over the back wing from above.  At any  rate,
it was there, and so lovely and delicate was the whole colour
scheme, it made me feel that I would give much to see a newly
emerged male of this species.  In my  childhood my mother called
this colour aniline red.

I once asked a Chicago importer if he believed that Oriental rug
weavers sometimes use these big night moths as colour guides in
their weaving.  He said he had heard this, and gave me the freedom
of his rarest rugs.  Of course the designs woven into these rugs
have a history, and a meaning for those who understand.  There were
three, almost priceless, one of which I am quite sure copied its
greys, terra cotta, and black shades from Cecropia.

There was another, a rug of pure silk, that never could have
touched a floor, or been trusted outside a case, had it been my
property, that beyond all question took its exquisite combinations
of browns and tans with pink lines, and peacock blue designs
from Polyphemus.  A third could have been copied from no moth save
Modesta, for it was dove grey, mouse grey, and cinnamon brown,
with the purplish pink of the back wings, and exactly the blue of
their decorations.  Had this rug been woven of silk, as the brown
one, that moment would have taught me why people sometimes steal
when they cannot afford to buy.  Examination of the stock of any
importer of high grade rugs will convince one who knows moths, that
many of our commonest or their near relatives native to the Orient
are really used as models for colour combinations in rug weaving.
The Herat frequently has moths in its border.

The Modest moth has a wing sweep in large females of from five and
one-half to six inches.  In my territory they are very rare,
only a few caterpillars and one moth have fallen to me.  This can
be accounted for by the fact that the favourite food tree of the
caterpillar is so scarce, for some reason having become almost
extinct, except in a few cases where they are used for shade.

The eggs are a greyish green, and have the pearly appearance of
almost all moth eggs.  On account of white granules, the caterpillar
cannot fail to be identified.  The moths in their beautiful soft
colouring are well worth search and study.  They are as exquisitely
shaded as any, and of a richness difficult to describe.



CHAPTER XIV  The Pride of the Lilacs:  Attacus Promethea


So far as the arrangement ofthe subjects of this book in family
groupings is concerned, any chapter might come first or last.  It
is frankly announced as the book of the Nature Lover, and as such
is put together in the form that appears to me easiest to comprehend
and most satisfying to examine.  I decided that it would be sufficient
to explain the whole situation to the satisfaction of any one, if I
began the book with a detailed history of moth, egg, caterpillar,
and cocoon and then gave complete portrayal of each stage in the
evolution of one cocoon and one pupa case moth.  I began  with
Cecropia, the commonest of all and one of the most beautiful
for the spinners, and ended with Regalis, of earth--and the rarest.

The luck I had in securing Regalis in such complete form seems to
me the greatest that ever happened to any, worker in this field,
and it reads more like a fairy tale than sober every-day fact,
copiously illustrated with studies from life.  At its finish
I said, "Now I am done.  This book is completed."  Soon afterward,
Raymond walked in with a bunch of lilac twigs in his hand from
which depended three rolled leaves securely bound to their twigs
by silk spinning.

"I don't remember that we ever found any  like these,"  he said.
'Would you be interested in them?'

Would I?  Instantly I knew this book was not finished.  As I held
the firm, heavy, leaf-rolled cocoons in my hand, I could see the
last chapter sliding over from fourteen to fifteen to make place
for Promethea, the loveliest of the Attacine group, a cousin of
Cecropia.  Often I had seen the pictured cocoon, in its neat little,
tight little leaf-covered shelter, and the mounted moths of
scientific collections and museums; I knew their beautiful forms
and remembered the reddish tinge flushing the almost black coat
of the male and the red wine and clay-coloured female with her
elaborate marks, spots, and lines.  Right there the book stopped
at leaf-fall early in November to await the outcome of those three
cocoons.  If they would yield a pair in the spring, and if that
pair would emerge close enough together to mate and produce fertile
eggs, then by fall of the coming year I would have a complete
life history.  That was a long wait, thickly punctuated with 'ifs.'

Then the twig was carried to my room and stood in a vase of
intricate workmanship and rare colouring.

Every few days I examined those cocoons and tested them by
weight.  I was sure they were perfect.  That spring I had been
working all day and often at night, so I welcomed an opportunity
to spend a few days at a lake where I would meet many friends;
boating and fishing were fine, while the surrounding country was
one uninterrupted panorama of exquisite land and water pictures.
I packed and started so hastily I forgot my  precious cocoons.
Two weeks later on my return, before I entered the Cabin, I walked
round it to see if my flowers had been properly watered and
tended.  It was not later than three in the afternoon but I saw at
least a dozen wonderful big moths, dusky and luring, fluttering
eagerly over the wild roses covering a south window of the Deacon's
room adjoining mine on the west.  Instantly I knew what that meant.
I hurried to the room and found a female Promothea at the top of
the screen covering a window that the caretaker had slightly lowered.
I caught up a net and ran to bring a step-ladder.  The back
foundation is several feet high and that threw the tops of the
windows  close under the eaves.  I mounted to the last step and
balancing made a sweep to capture a moth.  They could see me and
scattered in all directions.  I waited until they  were beginning
to return, when from the thicket of leaves emerged a deep rose-flushed
little moth that sailed away, with every black one in pursuit.
I almost fell from the ladder. I went inside, only to learn that
what I feared was true.  The wind had loosened the screen in my
absence, and the moth had passed through a crack, so narrow it
 seemed impossible for it to escape.

Only those interested as I was, and who have had similar experience,
know how to sympathize.  I had thought a crowbar would be required
to open one of those screens!  With sinking heart I hurried to my
room.  Joy!  There was yet hope!  The escaped moth was the only one
that had emerged.  The first thing was to fasten the screen, the next
to live with the remaining cocoons.

The following morning another, female appeared, and a little later
a male.

The cocoons were long, slender, closely leaf-wrapped and hung from
stout spinning longer than the average leaf stem.  The outside leaf
covering easily could be peeled away as the spinning did not seem
to adhere except at the edges.  There was a thin waterproof coating
as with Cecropia, then a little loose spinning that showed most at
top and bottom, the leaf wrapping being so closely drawn that it
was plastered against the body of the heavy inner case around the
middle until it adhered.  The inner case was smooth and dark inside
and the broken pupa case nearly black.

The male and female differed more widely in colour and markings
than any moths with which I had worked.  At a glance, the male
reminded me of a monster Mourning Cloak butterfly.  The front wings
from the base extending over half the surface were a dark brownish
black, outlined with a narrow escalloped line of clay colour of
light shade.  The black colour from here lightened as it neared
the margin.  At the apex it changed to a reddish brown tinge that
surrounded the typical eye-spot of all the Attacus group for almost
three-fourths of its circumference.  The bottom of the eye was
blackish blue, shading abruptly to pale blue at the top.  The
straggle M of white was in its place at the extreme tip, on the
usual rose madder field.  From there a broad clay-coloured band
edged the wing and joined the dark colour in escallops.
Through the middle of it in an irregular wavy line was traced an
almost hair-fine marking of strong brown.  The back wings were
darker than the darkest part of the fore-wings and this colour
covered them to the margin, lightening very slightly.  A
clay-coloured band bordered the edge, touched with irregular
splashes of dark brown, a little below them a slightly heavier
line than that on the fore-wing, which seemed to follow the outline
of the decorations.

Underneath, the wings were exquisitely marked, flushed, and shaded
almost past description in delicate and nearly intangible reddish
browns, rose madder on grey, pink-tinged brown and clay colour.
On the fore-wings the field from base to first line was reddish brown
with a faint tinge of tan beside the costa.  From this to the
clay-coloured border my descriptive powers fail.  You could see
almost any shade for which you looked.  There were greyish places
flushed with scales of red and white so closely set that the
result was frosty pink.  Then the background would change to brown
with the same over-decoration.  The bottom of the eye-spot was dark
only about one-fourth the way, the remaining three-fourths, tan
colour outlined at the top with pale blue and black in fine lines.
The white M showed through on a reddish background, as did the
brown line of the clay border.  The back wings widespread were
even lovelier.  Beginning about the eighth of an inch from the top
was a whitish line tracing a marking that when taken as a whole on
both outspread wings, on some, slightly resembled a sugar maple
leaf, and on others, the perfect profile of a face.  There was a
small oblong figure of pinkish white where the eye would fall, and
the field of each space was brownish red velvet.  From this to the
clay-coloured band with its paler brown markings and lines, the
pink and white scales sprinkled the brown ground; most of the pink,
around the marking, more of the white, in the middle of the space;
so few of either, that it appeared to be brown where the clay border
joined.

The antennae were shaped as all of the Attacus group, but larger in
proportion to size, for my biggest Promethea measured only four
and a quarter from tip to tip, and for his inches carried larger
antlers than any Cecropia I ever saw of this measurement, those of
the male being very much larger than the female.  In colour they
were similar to the darkest part of the wings, as were the back of
the head, thorax and abdomen.  The hair on the back of the thorax
was very long.  The face wore a pink flush over brown, the eyes
bright brown, the under thorax covered with long pinkish brown
hairs, and the legs the same.  A white stripe ran down each side
of the abdomen, touched with a dot of brownish red wine colour on
the rings.  The under part was pinkish wine crossed with a narrow
white line at each segment.  The claspers were prominent and sharp.
The finishing touch of the exquisite creation lay in the fact that
in motion, in strong light the red wine shadings of the under side
cast an intangible, elusive, rosy flush over the dark back of the
moth that was the mast delicate and loveliest colour effect I ever
have seen on marking of flower, bird, or animal.

For the first time in all my experience with moths the female was
less than the male.

Even the eggs of this mated pair carried a pinkish white shade and
were stained with brown.  They were ovoid in shape and dotted
the screen door in rows.  The tiny caterpillars were out eleven
days later and proved to be of the kind that march independently
from their shells without stopping to feed on them.  Of every
food offered, the youngsters seemed to prefer lilac leaves; I
remembered that they had passed the winter wrapped in these,
dangling from their twigs, and that the under wings of the male and
much of the female bore a flushing of colour that was lilac, for
what else is red wine veiled with white?  So I promptly christened
them, 'The Pride of the Lilacs.'  They  were said to eat ash, apple
pear, willow, plum, cherry, poplar and many other leaves, but mine
liked lilac, and there was a supply in reach of the door, so they
undoubtedly  were lilac caterpillars, for they had nothing else to
eat.

The little fellows were pronouncedly yellow.  The black head with
a grey stripe joined the thorax with a yellow band.  The body was
yellow with black rings, the anal parts black, the legs pale
greyish yellow.  They made their first moult on the tenth day and
when ready to eat again they were stronger yellow than before,
with many touches of black.  They moulted four times, each
producing slight changes until the third, when the body took on a
greenish tinge, delicate and frosty in appearance.  The heads were
yellow with touches of black, and the anal shield even stronger
yellow, with black.  At the last moult there came a touch of red on
the thorax, and of deep blue on the latter part of the body.

In spinning they gummed over the upper surface of a leaf and,
covering it with silk, drew it together so that nothing could be
seen of the work inside.  They began spinning some on the
forty-second, some on the forty-third day, when about three inches
in length and plump to bursting.  I think at a puncture in the skin
they would have spurted like a fountain.  They began spinning at
night and were from sight before I went to them the following
morning.  So I hunted a box and packed them away with utmost care.

I selected a box in which some mounted moths had been sent me by a
friend in Louisiana, and when I went to examine my cocoons toward
spring, to my horror I found the contents of the box chopped to
pieces and totally  destroyed.  Pestiferous little 'clothes' moths
must have infested the box, for there were none elsewhere in the
Cabin.  For a while this appeared to be too bad luck; but when
luck turns squarely against you, that is the time to test the
essence and quality of the word 'friend.'  So I sat me down and
wrote to my friend, Professor Rowley, of Missouri, and told him
I wanted Promethea for the completion of this book; that I had
an opportunity to make studies of them and my plate was light-struck,
and house-moths had eaten my cocoons.  Could he do anything?
To be sure he could.  I am very certain he sent me two dozen
'perfectly good' cocoons.

From the abundance of males that have come to seek females of this
species at the Cabin, ample proof seems furnished that they are a
very common Limberlost product; but I never have found, even when
searching for them, or had brought to me a cocoon of this variety,
save the three on one little branch found by Raymond, when he did
not know what they were.  Because of the length of spinning which
these caterpillars use to attach their cocoons, they dangle freely
in the wind, and this gives them especial freedom from attack.



CHAPTER XV  The King of the Poets:  Citheronia Regalis


To the impetuosity  of youth I owe my first acquaintance with the
rarest moth of the Limberlost; "not common anywhere," say
scientific authorities.  Molly-Cotton and I were driving to
Portland-town, ten miles south of our home.  As customary, I was
watching fields, woods, fence corners and roadside in search of
subjects; for many beautiful cocoons and caterpillars, much to be
desired, have been located while driving over the country on
business or pleasure.

With the magnificent independence of the young, Molly-Cotton would
have scouted the idea that she was searching for moths also, but I
smiled inwardly as I noticed her check the horse several times and
scan a wayside bush, or stretch of snake fence.  We were approaching
the limits of town, and had found nothing; a slow rain was falling,
and the shimmer on bushes and fences made it difficult to see
objects plainly.  Several times I had asked her to stop the horse,
or drive close the fields when I was sure of a moth or caterpillar,
though it was very late, being close the end of August; but we
found only a dry leaf, or some combination that had deceived me.

Just on the outskirts of Portland, beside a grassy ditch and at
the edge of a cornfield, grew a cluster of wild tiger lilies.
The water in the ditch had kept them in flower long past their
bloomtime.  On one of the stems there seemed to be a movement.

"Wait a minute!" I cried, and Molly-Cotton checked the horse,
but did not stop, while I leaned forward and scanned the lilies
carefully.  What I thought I saw move appeared to be a dry lily
bloom of an orange-red colour, that had fallen and lodged on the
grasses against a stalk.

"It's only a dead lily," I said; "drive on."

"Is there a moth that colour?" asked Molly-Cotton.

"Yes," I replied.  "There is an orange-brown species, but it is
rare.  I never have seen a living one."

So we passed the lilies.  A very peculiar thing is that when one
grows intensely interested in a subject, and works over it, a
sort of instinct, an extra sense as it were, is acquired.  Three
rods away, I became certain I had seen something move, so strongly
the conviction swept over me that we had passed a moth.  Still, it
was raining, and the ditch was wet and deep.

"I am sorry we did not stop," I said, half to myself, "I can't help
feeling that was a moth."

There is where youth, in all its impetuosity, helped me.  If the
girl had asked, "Shall I go back?" in all probability I would
have answered, "No, I must have been mistaken.  Drive on!"

Instead, Molly-Cotton, who had straightened herself, and touched up
her horse for a brisk entrance into town, said, "Well, we will just
settle that 'feeling' right here!"

At a trot, she deftly cut a curve in the broad road and drove
back.  She drew close the edge of the ditch as we approached the
lilies.  As the horse stopped, what I had taken for a fallen lily
bloom, suddenly opened to over five inches of gorgeous red-brown,
canary-spotted wing sweep, and then closed again.

"It is a moth!" we gasped, with one breath.

Molly-Cotton cramped the wheel on my side of the carriage and
started to step down.  Then she dropped back to the seat.

"I am afraid," she said.  "I don't want you to wade that
ditch in the rain, but you never have had a red one, and if
I bungle and let it escape, I never will forgive myself."

She swung the horse to the other side, and I climbed down.
Gathering my skirts, I crossed the ditch as best I could, and
reached the lily bed, but I was trembling until my knees wavered.
I stepped between the lilies and the cornfield, leaned over
breathlessly, and waited in the pelting rain, until the moth again
raised its wings above its back.  Then with a sweep learned in
childhood, I had it.

While crossing the ditch, I noticed there were numbers of heavy
yellow paper bags lying where people had thrown them when emptied
of bananas and biscuits, on leaving town.  They  were too wet to be
safe, but to carry  the moth in my fingers would spoil it for a
study, so I caught up and drained a big bag; carefully set my
treasure inside, and handed it to Molly-Cotton.  If you consider
the word 'treasure'  too strong to fit the case, offer me your biggest
diamond, ruby, or emerald, in recompense for the privilege of
striking this chapter, with its accompanying illustration, from my
book, and learn what the answer will be.

When I entered the carriage and dried my face and hands, we
peeped, marvelled, and exclaimed in wonder, for this was the
most gorgeous moth of our collections.  We hastened to Portland,
where we secured a large box at a store.  In order that it might
not be dark and set the moth beating in flight, we copiously
punctured it with as large holes as we dared, and bound the lid
securely.  On the way home we searched the lilies and roadside for
a mile, but could find no trace of another moth.  Indeed, it seemed
a miracle that we had found this one late in August, for the time
of their emergence is supposed to be from middle May to the end of
June.  Professor Rowley assures me that in rare instances a moth
will emerge from a case or cocoon two seasons old, and finding this
one, and the Luna, prove it is well for nature students to be
watchful from May  until October.  Because these things happened to
me in person, I made bold to introduce the capture of a late
moth into the experience of Edith Carr in the last chapter of
"A Girl of the Limberlost."  I am pointing out some of these
occurrences as I come to them, in order that you may see how
closely I keep to life and truth, even in books exploited as
fiction.  There may be such incidents that are pure imagination
incorporated; but as I write I can recall no instance similar to
this, in any book of mine, that is not personal experience, or
that did not happen to other people within my knowledge, or was
not told me by some one whose word I consider unquestionable;
allowing very little material indeed, on the last provision.

There is one other possibility to account for the moth at this
time.  Beyond all question the gorgeous creature is of tropical
origin.  It has made its way north from South or Central America.
It occurs more frequently in Florida and Georgia than with us, and
there it is known to have been double brooded; so standing on the
records of professional lepidopterists, that gives rise to grounds
for the possibility that in some of our long, almost tropical
Indiana summers, Regalis may be double brooded with us.  At any
rate, many people saw the living moth in my possession on this date.
In fact, I am prepared to furnish abundant proof of every statement
contained in this chapter; while at the same time admitting that
it reads like the veriest fairy tale 'ever thought or wondered.'

The storm had passed and the light was fine, so we posed the moth
before the camera several times.  It was nervous business, for he
was becoming restless, and every instant I expected him to fly,
but of course we kept him guarded.

There was no hope of a female that late date, so the next step was
to copy his colours and markings as exactly as possible.  He was
the gaudiest moth of my experience, and his name seemed to suit
rarely well.  Citheroma--a Greek poet, and Regalis--regal.  He was
truly royal and enough to inspire poetry in a man of any nation.
His face-was orange-brown, of so bright a shade that any one at a
glance would have called it red.  His eyes were small for his size,
and his antennae long, fine, and pressed against the face so
closely it had to be carefully scrutinized to see them.  A band of
bright canary-yellow arched above them, his thorax was covered
above with long silky, orange-brown hairs, and striped lengthwise
with the same yellow.  His abdomen was the longest and slenderest
I had seen, elegantly curved like a vase, and reaching a quarter
of an inch beyond the back wings, which is unusual.  It was thickly
covered with long hair, and faintly lined at the segments with yellow.
The claspers were very  sharp, prominent brown hooks.  His sides
were dotted with alternating red and orangebrown spots, and his
thorax beneath, yellow.  The under side of the abdomen was yellow,
strongly shaded with orange-brown.  His legs and feet were the
same.

His fore-wings were a silvery lead colour, each vein covered with
a stripe of orange-brown three times its width.  The costa began in
lead colour, and at half its extent shaded into orange-brown.  Each
front wing had six yellow spots, and a seventh faintly showing.
Half an inch from the apex of the wings, and against the costa, lay
the first and second spots, oblong in shape, and wide enough to
cover the space between veins.  The third was a tiny  dot next the
second.  The hint of one crossed the next vein, and the other three
formed a triangle; one lay at the costa about three-quarters of an
inch from the base, the second at the same distance from the base
at the back edge of the wing, and the third formed the apex, and
fell in the middle, on the fifth space between veins, counting
from either edge.  These were almost perfectly round.  The back
wings were very hairy, of a deep orange-brown at the base, shading
to lighter tones of the same colour at the edge, and faintly
clouded in two patches with yellow.

Underneath the fore-wings were yellow at the base, and lead colour
the remainder of their length.  The veins had the orange-red
outlining, and the two large yellow dots at the costa showed
through as well as the small one beside them.  Then came another
little yellow dot of the same size, that did not show on the upper
side, and then four larger round spots between each vein.  Two of
them showed in the triangle on the upper side full size, and the
two between could be seen in the merest speck, if looked for very
closely.

The back wings underneath were yellow three-fourths of their
length, then next the abdomen began a quarter of an inch wide band
of orange-brown, that crossed the wing to the third vein from the
outer edge, and there shaded into lead colour, and covered the space
to the margin.  The remainder of the wing below this band was a
lighter shade of yellow than above it.  From tip to tip he measured
five and a half inches, and from head to point of abdomen a little
over two.

While I was talking Regalis, and delighted over finding so late in
the season the only one I lacked to complete my studies of every
important species, Arthur Fensler brought me a large Regalis
caterpillar, full fed, and in the last stages of the two days of
exercise that every caterpillar seems to take before going into
the pupa state.  It was late in the evening, so I put the big
fellow in a covered bucket of soft earth from the garden,
planning to take his picture the coming day.  Before morning
he had burrowed into the earth from sight, and was pupating,
so there was great risk in disturbing him.  I was afraid there
were insects in the earth that would harm him, as care had not
been taken to bake it, as should have been done.

A day later Willis Glendenning brought me another Regalis
caterpillar.  I made two pictures of it, although transformation to
the pupa stage was so far advanced that it was only  half length,
and had a shrivelled appearance like the one I once threw away.
I was disgusted with the picture at the time, but now I feel
that it is very important in the history of transformation from
caterpillar to pupa, and I am glad to have it.

Two days later, Andrew Idlewine, a friend to my work, came to the
Deacon with a box.  He said that he thought maybe I would like to
take a picture of the fellow inside, and if I did, he wanted a copy;
and he wished he knew what the name of it was.  He had found it
on a butternut tree, and used great care in taking it lest it
'horn' him.  He was horrified when the Deacon picked it up, and
demonstrated how harmless it was.  This is difficult to believe,
but it was a third Regalis and came into my possession at night
again.  My only consolation was that it was feeding, and would
not pupate until I could make a picture.  This one was six inches
from tip to tip, the largest caterpillar I ever saw; a beautiful
blue-green colour, with legs of tan marked with black, each segment
having four small sharp horns on top, and on the sides an oblique
dash of pale blue.  The head bore ten horns.  Four of these were
large, an inch in length, coloured tan at the base, black at the
tip.  The foremost pair of this formidable array turned front over
the face, all the others back, and the outside six of the ten were
not quite the length of the largest ones.

The first caterpillar had measured five inches, and the next one
three, but it was transforming.  Whether the others were males
and this a female, or whether it was only that it had grown under
favourable conditions, I could not tell.  It was differently
marked on the sides, and in every way larger, and brighter than
the others, and had not finished feeding.  Knowing that it was
called the 'horned hickory devil' at times, hickory and walnut
leaves were placed in its box, and it evinced a decided preference
for the hickory.  As long as it ate and seemed a trifle larger it
was fed.  The day it walked over fresh leaves and began the
preliminary  travel, it was placed on some hickory sprouts around
an old stump, and exposures made on it, or rather on the places it
had been, for it was extremely restless and difficult to handle.
Two plates were spoiled for me by my subject walking out of focus
as I snapped, but twice it was caught broadside in good position.

While I was working with this caterpillar, there came one of my
clearest cases of things that 'thrust themselves upon me.'  I
would have preferred to concentrate all my attention on the
caterpillar, for it was worth while; but in the midst of my work
a katydid deliberately walked down the stump, and stopped squarely
before the lens to wash her face and make her toilet.  She was on
the side of the stump, and so clearly outlined by the lens that
I could see her long wavering antennae on the ground glass, and
of course she took two plates before she resumed her travels.
I long had wanted a katydid for an illustration.  I got that one
merely by using what was before me.  All I did was to swing the
lens about six inches, and shift the focus slightly, to secure
two good exposures of her in fine positions.  My caterpillar
almost escaped while I worked, for it had put in the time
climbing to the ground, and was a yard away hurrying across
the grass at a lively pace.

Two days later it stopped travelling, and pupated on the top of
the now hardened earth in the bucket that contained the other
two.  It was the largest of the pupae when it emerged, a big
shining greenish brown thing flattened and seeming as if it had
been varnished.  On the thin pupa case the wing shields and
outlines of the head and different parts of the body could be seen.
Then a pan of sand was baked, and a box with a glass cover was filled.
I laid the pupa on top of the sand, and then dug up the first one,
as I was afraid of the earth in which it lay.  The case was sound,
and in fine condition.  All of these pupae lived and seemed perfect.
Narrow antennae and abdominal formation marked the big one a female,
while broader antlers and the clearly  outlined 'claspers'  proved
the smaller ones males.  A little sphagnum moss, that was dampened
slightly every few days, was kept around them. The one that entered
the ground had pushed the earth from it on all, sides at a depth of
three inches, and hollowed an oval space the size of a medium hen
egg, in which the pupa lay, but there was no trace of its cast skin.
Those that pupated on the ground had left their skins at the thorax,
and lay two inches from them.  The horns came off with the skin, and
the lining of the segments and the covering of the feet showed.  At
first the cast skins were green, but they soon turned a dirty grey,
and the horns blackened.

So from having no personal experience at all with our rarest moth,
inside a few days of latter August and early September, weeks after
hope had been abandoned for the season, I found myself with several
as fine studies of the male as I could make, one of an immense
caterpillar at maturity, one half-transformed to the moth, and three
fine pupa cases.  Besides, I had every reason to hope that in the
spring I could secure eggs and a likeness of a female to complete my
illustration.  Call this luck, fairy  magic, what you will, I admit
it sounds too good to be true; but it is.

All winter these three fine Regalis pupa cases were watched
solicitously, as well as my twin Cecropias, some Polyphemus, and
several ground cocoons so spun on limbs and among debris that it
was not easy to decide whether they were Polyphemus or Luna.
When spring came, and the Cecropias emerged at the same time, I
took heart, for I admit I was praying for a pair of Regalis moths
from those pupa cases in order that a female, a history of their
emergence, and their eggs, might be added to the completion of this
chapter.  In the beginning it was my  plan to use the caterpillars,
and give the entire history of one spinning, and one burrowing moth.
My Cecropia records were complete; I could add the twin series for
good measure for the cocoon moth; now if only a pair would come
from these pupa cases, I would have what I wanted to compile the
history of a ground moth.

Until the emergence of the Cecropias, my cocoons and pupa cases
were kept on my dresser.  Now I moved the box to a chair beside my
bed.  That was a lucky thought, for the first moth appeared at
midnight, from Mr. Idlewine's case.  She pushed the wing shields
away with her feet, and passed through the opening.  She was three
and one-half inches LONG, with a big pursy abdomen, and wings the
size of my thumbnail.  I was anxious for a picture of her all damp
and undeveloped, beside the broken pupa case; but I was so fearful
of spoiling my series I dared not touch, or try to reproduce her.
The head and wings only seemed damp, but the abdomen was quite wet,
and the case contained a quantity of liquid, undoubtedly ejected
for the purpose of facilitating exit.  When you next examine a pupa,
study the closeness with which the case fits antennae, eyes, feet,
wings, head, thorax, and abdominal rings and you will see that it
would be impossible for the moth to separate from the case and
leave it with down intact, if it were dry.

Immediately the moth began racing around energetically, and
flapping those tiny wings until the sound awakened the Deacon in
the adjoining room.  After a few minutes of exercise, it seemed in
danger of injuring the other cases, so it was transferred to the
dresser, where it climbed to the lid of a trinket case, and
clinging with the feet, the wings hanging, development began.
There was no noticeable change in the head and shoulders, save that
the down grew fluffier as it dried.  The abdomen seemed to draw up,
and became more compact.  No one can comprehend the story of the
wings unless they have seen them develop.

At twelve o'clock and five minutes, they measured two-thirds of an
inch from the base of the costa to the tip.  At twelve fifteen they
were an inch and a quarter.  At half-past twelve they were two
inches.  At twelve forty-five they were two and a half; and at
one o'clock they were three inches.  At complete expansion this
moth measured six and a half inches strong (sic!), and this full
sweep was developed in one hour and ten minutes.  To see those
large brilliantly-coloured wings droop, widen, and develop their
markings, seemed little short of a miracle.

The history  of the following days is painful.  I not only wanted
a series of this moth as I wanted nothing else concerning the book,
but with the riches of three fine pupa cases of it on hand, I had
promised Professor Rowley eggs from which to obtain its history
for himself.  I had taxed Mr. Rowley's time and patience as an
expert lepidopterist, to read my text, and examine my illustration;
and I hoped in a small way to repay his kindness by sending him a
box of fertile Regalis eggs.

The other pupa cases were healthful and lively, but the moths would
not emerge.  I coaxed them in the warmth of closed palms--I even
laid them on dampened moss in the sun in the hope of softening the
cases, and driving the moths out with the heat, but to no avail.
They would not come forth.

I had made my studies of the big moth, when she was fully
developed; but to my despair, she was depositing worthless eggs
over the inside of my screen door.

Four days later, the egg-laying period over, the female, stupid and
almost gone, a fine male emerged, and the following day another.
I placed some of the sand from the bottom of the box on a
brush tray, and put these two cases on it, and set a focused camera
in readiness, so that I got a side view of a moth just as it
emerged, and one facing front when about ready to cling for wing
expansion.  The history of their appearance, was similar to that
of the female, only they were smaller, and of much brighter.
colour.  The next morning I wrote Professor Rowley of my regrets
at being unable to send the eggs as I had hoped.

At noon I came home from half a day in the fields, to find Raymond
sitting on the Cabin steps with a big box.  That box contained a
perfect pair of mated Regalis moths.  This was positively the last
appearance of the fairies.

Raymond had seen these moths clinging to the under side of a rail
while riding.  He at once dismounted, coaxed them on a twig, and
covering them with his hat, he weighted the brim with stones.  Then
he rode to the nearest farm-house for a box, and brought the pair
safely to me.  Several beautiful studies of them were made, into
one of which I also introduced my last moth to emerge, in order
to show the males in two different positions.

The date was June tenth.  The next day the female began egg
placing.  A large box was lined with corrugated paper, so that she
could find easy footing, and after she had deposited many eggs on
this, fearing some element in it might not be healthful for them, I
substituted hickory leaves.

Then the happy time began.  Soon there were heaps of pearly pale
yellow eggs piled in pyramids on the leaves, and I made a study  of
them.  Then I gently lifted a leaf, carried it outdoors and, in
full light, reproduced the female in the position in which she
deposited her eggs, even in the act of placing them.  Of course,
Molly-Cotton stood beside with a net in one hand to guard, and an
umbrella in the other to shade the moth, except at the instant of
exposure; but she made no movement indicative of flight.

I made every study of interest of which I could think.  Then I
packed and mailed Professor Rowley about two hundred fine fertile
eggs, with all scientific data.  I only kept about one dozen, as
I could think of nothing more to record of this moth except the
fact that I had raised its caterpillar.  As I explained in the
first chapter, from information found in a work on moths supposed
to be scientific and accurate, I depended on these caterpillars to
emerge in sixteen days.  The season was unusually rainy and
unfavourable for field work, and I had a large contract on hand
for outdoor stuff.  I was so extremely busy, I was glad to box the
eggs, and put them out of mind until the twenty-seventh.  By the
merest chance I handled the box on the twentyfourth, and found
six caterpillars starved to death, two more feeble, and four that
seemed lively.  One of these was bitten by some insect that clung
to a leaf placed in their box for food, in spite of the fact that
all leaves were carefully washed.  One died from causes unknown.
One stuck in pupation, and moulded in its skin.  Three went through
the succession of moults and feeding periods in fine shape, and the
first week in September transformed into shiny pupa cases, not one
of which was nearly as large as that of the caterpillar brought to
me by Mr. Idlewine.  I fed these caterpillars on black walnut leaves,
as they ate them in preference to hickory.

I am slightly troubled about this moth.  In Packard's "Guide to the
Study of Moths", he writes: "Citheronia Regalis expands five to six
inches, and its fore-wings are olive coloured, spotted with
yellow and veined with broad red lines, while the hind wings are
orange-red, spotted with olive, green, and yellow."

He describes two other species.  Citheronia Mexicana, a tropical
moth that has drifted as far north as Mexico.  It is quite similar
to Regalis, "having more orange and less red,"  but it is not
recorded as having been found within a thousand miles of my
locality.  A third small species, Citheronia sepulcralis, expands
only a little over three inches, is purple-brown with yellow
spots; and is a rare Atlantic Coast species having been found once
in Massachusetts, oftener in Georgia, never west of Pennsylvania.

This eliminates them as possible Limberlost species.  Professor
Rowley raised this moth from the eggs I sent him.

The trouble is this: Packard describes the fore-wings as 'olive,'
the hind as 'olive, and green.'  Holland makes no reference to
colour, but on plate X, figure three, page eighty-seven, he
reproduces Regalis with fore-wings of olive-green, the remainder
of the colour as I describe and paint, only lighter.  In all the
Regalis moths I have handled, raised, studied minutely, painted,
and photographed, there never has been tinge or shade of GREEN.
Not the slightest trace of it!  Each moth, male and female, has
had a basic colour of pure lead or steel grey.  White tinged with
the proper proportions of black and blue gives the only colour
that will exactly match it.  I have visited my specimen case
since writing the preceding.  I find there the bodies of four
Regalis moths, saved after their decline.  One is four years old,
one three, the others two, all have been exposed to daylight for
that length of time.  The yellows are slightly faded, the reds
very much degraded, the greys a half lighter than when fresh; but
showing to-day a pure, clear grey.

What troubles me is whether Regalis of the Limberlost is grey,
where others are green; or whether I am colour blind or these
men.  Referring to other writers, I am growing 'leery'  of the
word 'Authority'; half of what was written fifty years ago along
almost any line you can mention, to-day stands disproved; all of
us are merely seekers after the truth: so referring to other writers,
I find the women of Massachusetts; who wrote "Caterpillars and Their
Moths", and who in all probability have raised more different
caterpillars for the purpose of securing life history than any
other workers of our country, possibly of any, state that the
front wings of Regalis have "stripes of lead colour between the
veins of the wings,"  and "three or four lead-coloured stripes"
on the back wings.  The remainder of my description and colouring
also agrees with theirs.  If these men worked from museum or
private collections, there is a possibility that chemicals used
to kill, preserve, and protect the specimens from pests may have
degraded the colours, and changed the grey to green.  But to
accept this as the explanation of the variance upsets all their
colour values, so it must not be considered.  This proves that
there must be a Regalis that at times has olive-green stripes where
mine are grey; but I never have seen one.

I think people need not fear planting trees on their premises that
will be favourites with caterpillars, in the hope of luring
exquisite te moths to become common with them.  I have put out eggs,
and released caterpillars near the Cabin, literally by the thousand,
and never have been able to see the results by a single defoliated
branch.  Wrens, warblers, flycatchers, every small bird of the trees
are exploring bark and scanning upper and under leaf surfaces for
eggs and tiny caterpillars, and if they escape these, dozens of
larger birds are waiting for the half-grown caterpillars, for in
almost all instances these lack enough of the hairy coat of moss
butterfly larvae to form any protection.  Every season I watch my
walnut trees to free them from the abominable 'tent' caterpillars;
with the single exception of Halesidota Caryae, I never have had
enough caterpillars of any species attack my foliage to be
noticeable; and these in only one instance.  If you care for
moths you need not fear to encourage them; the birds will keep
them within proper limits.  If only one person enjoys this book
one-tenth as much as I have loved the work of making it, then I am
fully repaid.





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