Saturday, August 16, 2008

Meet Cynthia

Isn't she a beauty? It could be a he... 
This is Cynthia silk moth and you can read more about her here.
And if you click on the image you might actually be able to see that she is furry.

I would like a dress made of her lovely pattern, or a scarf perhaps.

And while we're on the subject of nature just a little update about the supposed 'rat' that Parlez brought into me just before the Chinese New Year. Several months later during the fecund summer solstice young Parlez again brought in a treasure for me to behold. I found him wanting to bend down and get said treasure in his mouth but he seemed to have a difficult time getting close to it. For good reason. When he moved out of the way I saw a MINI version of what he had brought in several months earlier. It was mighty ferocious standing about two inches tall on its back legs, front paws with claws extended, and sporting a very nice set of two-up, two-down teeth that seemed to say, "See these. Get any closer and I will take a bite out of you". And he did, or at least tried to when Parlez nose dived him.

He was so darn cute and so darn fast, but eventually I got him up in the usual yogurt carton and released him outside in some greens, near a network of holes that I call 'the home of the ground creatures'. I watched as he scrambled under a rock and began burrowing, moving little boulders (to him) with his front paws and claws. He was so amazing to watch. I hoped he would find his place back to wherever the great white had found him.

I came in and searched on the internet for what exactly it might be, this mini version of the supposed rat. Ooooo, many photos of moles. No. Not a rat, or a mouse, or a hamster (but close, ok, maybe not). Not a gerbil, a gopher, a prairie dog, a muskrat or a ground hog. It remained a mystery. And I wondered...

The next day. The very next day, the July-August copy of Audubon magazine appeared in my mailbox. I opened it and lo and behold, there on the page, staring up at me, there it was! Can I tell you how excited I got? Some people get really excited about winning money or winning something, but not me (not really excited, a little maybe). Apart from finding out what it actually was, I was so excited to be part of the St. Francis of Assissi, "What you are seeking is seeking you" phenomenon, and that it was such a wonder this puzzle piece just came to me. 

The ground creature, was none other than the Mountain Beaver. On the endangered species list, older than most every animal on the planet, clocking in at about 40 million years old, and the ancestor of other rodents. And, one of the most diligent and clever architects. To read more about it in Audubon click here

And, as I know you are curious to actually see this creature, here is a nice shot of him by Erwin and Peggy Bauer.

Isn't he cute?

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