Because one sex pursues through the air the track of the other. - Butterflies also migrate in immense swarms. M. Hubert relates the flight of a column of them in Switzerland, about four years since, the passage of which lasted upwards of two hours, and extended in breadth from ten to fifteen feet. He also describes their flight as low, rapid, and equal.
Because many of these insects when evolved from the pupa state, void a red-coloured matter resembling blood. Mouffet tells us, from Sleidan, that in the year 1553, a prodigious multitude of butterflies swarmed throughout a great portion of Germany, and sprinkled plants, leaves, buildings, clothes, and men, with bloody drops, as if it had rained blood. Several historians, indeed, have recorded showers of blood among the prodigies which have struck nations with terror, as the supposed omen of the destruction of cities and the overthrow of empires. The error was first detected by M. Peiresc, a philosopher, of Aix, who, at the time of a rumoured shower of blood, happened to have a large chrysalis in a box, which, changing into a butterfly, left a red stain of the same nature with the drops of the shower popularly supposed to be blood.
Because of its vigilance and animation, equal to the splendid meteoric bird of the tropics, and not on account of its resemblance in colour; since our plain and dusky insect has none of the glorious hues of the bird. The least movement alarms this moth; though Nature seems to have given it some essential requisites for its safety. Its activity, when on the wing, renders its capture difficult, and when it rests, it is on a wall, the bark of trees, etc.
Because of its origin from Atropos,the third Fate, it being a great destroyer of bees.
Because there often appear, on fine days, individuals which have survived the winter.
Because of its immense wings, larger than those of a common bat; the body is, however, remarkably small.
In a Madras Journal, date 1829, we read of a person at Arracan who caught a moth which measured from the tip of one wing to the tip of the other, ten inches. Both wings are beautifully variegated with the brightest colours. The editor thinks this the largest moth on record, exceeding in dimensions the largest in the British Museum, which measures about nine inches from tip to tip.
Because it emits a peculiarly subtle smell, which has been thought to resemble that of the goat. The object and seat of this odour seem not well understood. Some have conjectured it to proceed from the mouth, and discharged to soften the wood in which it burrows : the latter opinion is not, however, tenable, as many other insects that perforate timber, are not so supplied, and the microscope does not manifest the exudation of any fluid.
Because it has imprinted on its dark wings a white character, something like the letter Y, but more like the small Greek gamma.
Because of the mealy substance about its wings and body.
Because of the markings of its back being superstitiously associated with the head of a skeleton, with the limb-bones crossed beneath In German-Poland,this moth is called the death's-head phantom, the wandering- death-bird, etc. Its cry, produced by scratching its mandible against its horny chest, there becomes the voice of anguish, the moaning of a child, the signal of grief; it is regarded as the device of evil spirits, and the very shining of its eyes is thought to represent the fiery element whence it is supposed to have proceeded. Flying into the apartments of weak persons, in the evening, it at times extinguishes the light, foretelling war, pestilence, hunger, death - to man and beast.
Because of its singular flight in the twilight hour, haunting, as it were, one particular spot - wherefore the fancy of some collector probably considered it a spectre-like action. - Knapp.
Because it thus woos its mate, lying concealed in the herbage over which it sports. - Knapp.
Because his white satiny wings are easily discerned in the twilight, and these wings are frequently found scattered about in our morning walks.
Because of their pecular manner of moving, which may readily be conceived by those who have not seen them, when we mention, that at the commencement of each step their bodies present a pretty exact figure of the Greek letter . In this position, laying hold with their hinder prolegs, they stretch out their heads to the full extent of their body, laying hold with their forelegs while they again bring forward their body into the shape Q again.