Cecropia Moth in Concord Township OH, 2007
Jeff Maass

Riding around on my lawn tractor this afternoon, I looked up at the side of a sycamore tree, and something in my "ancient brain" said "snake"! 1/2-second later, the rest of my brain said "Not Snake!".

This is a Cecropia Moth (male). It is the largest moth in North America, with a wingspan of 5 to 6 inches. What I saw initially was the outside of his wings, which bear a striking resemblance to a snake head (see the snake head and eye in the photos?)! Since snakes are a natural enemy of birds, this is a defense mechanism against the moth's most dangerous enemy, birds! They are common in Ohio, but fly only at night, so most people don't see them. It's unusual to see one during the day, but this fellow must have been saving up strength for his nocturnal mating activities tonight!

I ran into the house, and fetched my camera, then went crazy photographing this fellow. Over 400 photos on the disk!  I wish I had a macro lens for some even closer shots of his head and feelers!

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