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Can Anyone Tell Me What Kind of Moth This Is? Susan Taitel

Posted (12:04 AM) Sorry for the grainy photo, my phone camera isn’t the best. I was working on my Econ paper when this moth landed on my laptop. I may have emitted a very dignified and high-pitched shout because this sucker is huge. I think it’s around three inches long and maybe five across with its wings open? (See the energy drink at the left of the frame for scale.) Color is mostly bronze/gold with flecks of red and puce. Those little black markings are hard to see in the photo but they almost look like writing, only not in an alphabet I recognize. But, of course not, ‘cause it’s a moth.

Anyway, I took the picture then inched my chair back and crept to the kitchen to get a jar to trap it and when I came back it was gone. No idea where it is now. I’m not normally one to freak out over a bug, but it was too big and too close and it’s too late at night for this shit. I’m definitely not sleeping. Which is fine because the paper is due first thing tomorrow.

Updated (12:48 AM) I tried an image search like many of you suggested but no match. Thanks to everyone reassuring me that moths are harmless, and yeah, that’s great but if they only eat liquids, why does the mouth-tube thing look so sharp? I dare any of you to write about The Impact of the Greek Crisis on the Global Exchange Rate with one of these hairy bastards staring you down.

Updated (1:33 AM) Holy shit, you guys! I went to the bathroom and there were THREE of them on the shower curtain just chilling in a perfect isosceles triangle. I swear they were folding and unfolding their wings in some kind of code. Like how ships used flags to communicate at a distance in the olden days? Semaphore. I looked it up.

Updated (1:54 AM) “Why didn’t you open a window and shoo them out with a broom?” There’s no window in the bathroom. The closest window is in my bedroom and I didn’t want to send them in there. Or any other part of the apartment.

I’ll just never use the bathroom again. That’s a livable solution, right?

Updated (2:12 AM) There’s got to be at least six or seven now. They’re circling the light fixture in the hall like a crib-mobile out of a Tim Burton movie. Where are they coming from? This is really freaking me out. Half a dozen doesn’t sound like a lot of moths, but believe me, it is.

I left a voicemail for my management company. I probably sounded deranged but I need a freaking exterminator like yesterday. Or a flamethrower.

Updated (2:20 AM) This is a serious question. I’m hearing this high-pitched melody, and I need to know if moths can sing? Because if they can’t, who or what is singing?

Updated (2:28 AM) Yes, I know crickets “sing” by rubbing their legs together, but this sounds like real voices. Imagine thirty tiny Edith Piafs singing “La Vie en Rose” only without recognizable lyrics, a consistent tempo, or an orchestra. It’s coming from everywhere.

I tried recording it, but my microphone didn’t pick it up. It’s either the moths or my imagination. I don’t know which answer I’m rooting for.

Updated (2:37 AM) Did you know that moths can swarm and mimic human shapes? Like butterflies in your stomach when you fall in love? This looks how that feels.

I’ve never seen a feeling before.

Updated (3:16 AM) Thank you again, everyone. I took your advice and got out of there. I took my laptop and research materials to wait on the front stoop. I called my friend Michelle to pick me up. She was SO mad that I woke her but I convinced her it was an emergency. She should be here in fifteen minutes. Going to keep working on my paper until then.

Updated (3:23 AM) Almost jumped out of my skin at a regular, normal-sized moth flying around the porch light. Doesn’t even sing. I kind of miss the singing.

But I’ve gotten some fresh air. The moth weirdness was my imagination plus the pressure of finals and the lack of sleep making me loopy.

My laptop battery is at thirteen percent. I knocked the cord loose when I saw the first moth. Then I forgot to grab it when I left. I’m thinking of going back inside for it.

Updated (3:49 AM) I can’t not turn it in. It’s not “just a paper.” It’s sixty percent of my final grade.

Michelle should be here by now.

Updated (3:50 AM) She isn’t answering. Did the moths get her? Dumb joke. I don’t believe that. Her phone plan is crap, cuts out all the time, but she’ll be here.

I’m going to fail Econ, aren’t I?

Updated (3:51 AM) My battery is at nine percent. I have to get the cord.

Updated (3:52 AM) Of course, it’s safe to go inside. They’re ordinary moths. One huge moth becomes twenty becomes a person made of moths singing about “a beautiful melding” can’t be real.

Updated (3:57 AM) It’s fine. Back inside. One landed on my hand. It’s soft and its voice isn’t too awful once you get used to it. Mouth-tubes don’t even hurt. It thinks I should join the meld. It’s making some good points. The moths are…mellow. Happy. I like happy. I probably will join. I mean I’ll decide after I turn in the paper. If I turn in the paper.

First I should sleep. Sleep is good.

Updated (8:00 AM) thanks you for concerning Fine now right. No moth no none moths. All fine no worry no paper no moth. normal. happy Come see. all come see. We sing.

© Susan Taitel

Meet the Author

Susan Taitel

Susan Taitel is an author, artist, and crafter from Chicago IL. She currently live in Minnesota. Her fiction has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Cast of Wonders, and Baffling Magazine among others. She has nothing against moths but she once got into a beef with a horsefly.

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