Guess what it is! Go on, guess! It is the scales on the eyespot of a luna moth. Read more at Wikipedia. I think it is byooootiful.
Continuing our 4 million part series Better Know an Insect (this time with an actual insect!), here is the most fun factoid about luna moths that I read at Wikipedia:
Their wings are very small when they first emerge and they must enlarge them by pumping bodily fluids through them. During this time, their wings are very soft and fragile and they must climb somewhere safe to wait for their wings to harden before they can fly away. This process takes about 2 hours to complete. The Luna moth has a wingspan of between 8–11.5 cm with long, tapering hindwings, which have eyespots on them in order to confuse potential predators. Although rarely seen due to their very brief (1 week) adult lives, Luna moths are considered common. As with all Saturniidae, the adults do not eat or have mouths. They emerge as adults solely to mate, and as such, only live approximately one week.So, pretty standard for a moth, I think. Mainly, they are pertty. Here are some more pictures:
Also from Wikipedia, photo of a male luna moth inflating his wings after coming out of his cocoon.
From khasan at Flickr. I think this one looks like a ballerina.
From mbryan777 at Flickr. Fuzzy!
From David Marine at Flickr. Look at the baby!
From anandajoy at Flickr. Another moth just inflating its wings. This photo illustrates just how huge those suckers are.