Sunday, August 18, 2013

Some Moths

Moths are really spectacular, but sadly they are many times over-shadowed by the more "flashy" butterflies. While butterflies are nice, moths are so incredibly varied and fascinating that they deserve a closer look.

So let's take a look at some of the moths I've come across recently.

Some moths are quite flashy and in your face. This is one such moth. This is a Pandorus Sphinx, Eumorpha pandorus, (also known as the Pandora Sphinx). These guys are massive; they can have wingspans of 3¼–4½ inches. If you ever come across one, you will definitely notice it. I came across this individual a few years ago on my front porch in the city. Adults fly at dusk from May to October, depending where you are in their range. In Ohio, there's flight data from June through August. The north only has one generation a year. Sphinx moths are always flashy, and this one is one of the flashiest in my opinion.

While there are flashy moths, there are also very plain moths. However, many of these plain moths have a very subtle beauty if a person actually gives them the time of day to look. This is a Common Tan Wave Moth, Pleuroprucha insulsaria. This smaller moth lives throughout Eastern North America and is common in deciduous woods, forest clearings, and field edges. They are nocturnal and attracted to lights, which is where I found this individual by.

This nondescript moth is a Green Cloverworm Moth, Hypena scabra. It's a species found over the majority of Eastern North America, and has even been reported in Great Britain! They're also nocturnal and attracted to light.

This tiny moth is a Sparganothis Fruitworm Moth, Sparganothis sulfureana. When I first saw him, I just thought it was another tiny, drab moth, but then I took a closer look at it. It revealed a intricate cream-and-caramel-coloured moth. Next time you see a tiny moth, take another look; you'll never know what you may see.

This moth stood out because of its color. This is a Spotted Fireworm Moth, Choristoneura parallela. 

Here's another interesting moth. Tiny, but different. This is a Black-shaded Platynota Moth, Platynota flavedana. 

This is a Common Idia, Idia aemula. A pretty common moth, this species is found across most of North America and Eurasia. This individual was quite worn, as you can see!

This one turned out to be the highlight of one mothing (yes, mothing, like birding) night. I'm pretty sure (and others agree) that this is a Detracted Owlet, Lesmone detrahens. It appears to be a very worn individual, making ID a bit harder, but it really matches other photos of Detracted Owlets on BugGuide. Anyway, Detracted Owlets, a southern moth species, are uncommon/rare visitors to Ohio, so this turned out to be a great find!

That's all for this post. Keep on a look out for moths!

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