Close encounters with an Atlas Moth

Just before Memorial Day weekend the Chicago Botanic Garden announced the arrival of an Atlas Moth in their Butterflies & Blooms exhibit.


I eagerly drove up that Saturday, but many in Chicagoland had the same idea, and I didn’t feel like wasting fuel in a long line of cars. Instead, I returned last week and enjoyed a quiet afternoon among butterflies.


So much is in bloom right now and strolling through the grounds is a delight of colors and fragrances.  The butterfly enclosure was filled with Monarchs, Malachites, Morpho butterflies and a few longwings whose names I forgot.


The prize was of course the Atlas Moth, and I noticed this one first. Just hanging out. They don’t eat as butterflies so this one has no need of that missing wing.


Then we were pointed to a female laying eggs, in a lovely knee-high location that enabled avid photographers to get numerous up-close shots.


Unfortunately the regulations don’t allow for the hatching of these eggs, but more butterflies are being raised on butterfly farms, so we do not have to worry about eliminating a generation of moths in controlled environments.


Such fuzzy-ness.


I noticed two more moths basking in the sun, and was just super-excited.


The Botanic Garden lucked out with two males and two females in this set.


Of course my battery ran out of juice long before I was ready to go, but just before it did this Morpho decided to pose for a few of us.


Generally we get this view.


I also learned about the White Morpho, which was emerging in the pupa center.



One hung out next to its blue counterpart.


I highly recommend the Butterflies & Blooms exhibit for friends of Lepidoptera.


Tripods are not allowed, and you cannot touch the butterflies (unless they land on you of course), but it’s a fantastic way to get an up-close view of these magical creatures.


The Chicago Botanic Garden is located at 1000 Lake Cook Road in Glencoe, Illinois. Just off U.S. Route 41 or I-294.


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