My dad and I found this brightly colored moth outside one day. Can you tell me more about it?
—Montana Plummer, Warsaw, Indiana
Tom: The moth you photographed is a male cecropia, a common member of the large Saturnid family of moths. Luna moths also are part of this group, which is a very interesting family because none of the members have mouthparts for feeding.
The adults of this group, as beautiful as they are, simply are at a reproductive stage. They live for about 1 week, just long enough to lay their eggs.
I can tell that this is a male because of the large feathery antennae, which are used to locate a mate. Females have finer antennae.