Upon my arrival home yesterday evening, I discovered a most beautiful creature lounging on the patio.  It hung suspended on one of the window screens.  Although not the largest such beast upon which mine eyes have feasted, it in fact was large enough to offer a splendid image of stunning colors and tones embedded in scaled wings and a fury body.

When first I photographed the loitering monster, no sunshine was to be found for clouds filled most of the sky.

Close-up of a Tussock moth (206_0657)

But then, only an hour or so later, the skies opened up and allowed the briefest of sunlight to fall upon the patio… and upon my visitor.  I did originally try to compensate for the color changes of dusk’s gentle rays filtering through treetops, but then I found the warmth of the photos to be too impressive, too welcoming.

Close-up of a Tussock moth (206_0670)

You can tell by the plumed antennae that my discovery was a male.  You can also tell from the colors that it was a Tussock Moth.  I’d like to say I’m certain of the species, but I’m not.  I believe it to be a Cinnamon Tussock Moth (Dasychira cinnamomea).  Most of me feels confident in that identification.

On the other hand, it might well be a Manto Tussock Moth (Dasychira manto).  That seems less likely while remaining a possibility.

I realized while photographing it from the side that several small projections were aligned along its back.  My first thought?  Parasites.

Close-up of a Tussock moth (206_0676)

Not so, however, as I discovered later.  These appear to be natural and native to the Tussock family of moths.  What are they, I wonder?  A bit more investigation undoubtedly will provide some answers.

Close-up of a Tussock moth (206_0669)

Irrespective of the exact species and whatever those interesting items might be, it’s still a gorgeous insect, especially when blanketed by the soft light of sunset.

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