Auburn Woman Has Close Encounter With One Massive Moth
Auburn native, Rhyanna Larose is all about nature, you could say.
"I'm a registered nurse by trade but my passion and hobbies are always nature and teaching nature to others. I'm always out teaching kids to fish, hike, kayak, identify ferns, plant trees, garden etc."
When she's not working her shift, you can find Larose tending to her property in Androscoggin County.
"I have been studying and playing with bugs for over 40 years and I cultivate and work towards harboring native pollinators to my property. I have thousands of square feet of vegetables, perennials, wild flowers and native trees to help Maines ecosystem thrive."
It's no wonder, then, that she should attract an array of interesting insects to her home. She had one big bug visit her this week, that's bigger than any moth I've ever seen! And she was able to snap this picture of it!
"Giant silk Moth, close to 8 inches wide, he's a big guy!!! 'Polyphemus Moths' have 2 cycles normally in early Spring and late summer... He has his calendar a bit mixed up and waaaayyy larger than normal! At first, I thought it was a bird landing on my head... lol... almost gave me a heart attack! Huge!!! This is the largest specimen, I have ever seen. The chair leg is over 3 inches wide for reference.. so he may actually be more than 8 inches wide."
Larose says it was about noon when her huge visitor arrived.
"I was just outside, tending to the gardens and 'swoop' this huge shadow of a creature coming from the tall oak trees, tried to land on my head. At first, I thought it was a bird, and it's shadow was enormous, I panicked to swat at it, instantly... and then, as it fluttered to a lawn chair, did I realize it was a giant silk moth. It was tired and groggy, hung out on lawn chair leg for about 10 minutes till my cat came by to 'sniff it', then it fluttered up into oak tree canopy 20 ft. or so."
Larose says this is not the first time an enormous moth has landed at her place.
"Here is a 6+ inch Luna moth at my house in Auburn last year."
Larose says large moths are not unusual here in the Maine. In fact, she's come across a Royal Moth, "another form of silk Moth Cecropia" which she says is likely one of Maine's largest, "easily at times pushing 10 inches!"
Larose says has a deep respect for the winged wildlife in her neck of the woods.
"I'm drawn to nature, even as a child... I have always had an immense appreciation for wild life, yes, even bugs! All forms of nature are important to our coexistence on this planet. Insects Plat a vital role in our ability to thrive on Earth. We need them to balance mother Earth, to pollinate our crops, to feed the birds and bats, to eat the parasites and to keep the cycle of nature turning. There are 8 billion people on earth, non of which could eat, live or thrive without insects who undoubtedly outweigh all humans on this planet by a factor of 100xs."
It's nice to know that where others may have swatted and fled, there are folks like Larose, who appreciate the unconventional beauty of the world around us.