On the night of June 17th, I traveled to Clear Creek Metro Park in Fairfield County, Ohio, to participate in a moth night. I talked about some of the drab and subtle moths of the night in my previous post, but now I want to take a moment to highlight some of the showy species.
Luna Moth, Cecropia Moth, and the Imperial Moth. The Io Moth is a relatively common moth across the entirety of Ohio, and over a dozen visited the sheets during the course of the night. As you have probably noticed, the wings of the Io Moth have two large eye spots. These eye spots serve to ward off predators. The Io Moth typically sits with its wings closed. If a potential predators comes near, the Io Moth will open its wings and flash its eye spots. If everything goes according to plan, the surprised predator should back off, giving the Io Moth time to escape.
Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern North America a good 5-7 times while trying to identify this moth, but I simply couldn't find it. I posted a photo of it on the Facebook group Mothing Ohio to see if someone could help. Within a few minutes a member ID'ed it for me, and I soon realized why I couldn't find it in the guide—it wasn't in there! When it comes to arthropods, there are tens of thousands of species. There are over 11,000 species of moths alone in North America! A field guide can not simply contain every single species with numbers like these, even if that guide only focuses on one group of arthropods in one section of the continent like the Peterson Guide does. Choices have to be made on what to include and what to exclude, and the authors of the Peterson Field Guide to Moths only included "1,500 of the most common or most eye-catching moths in" Northeastern North America. Luckily, the internet fills in these field guide gaps, and Facebook groups or sites like BugGuide will help you out!
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That wraps up my two-part series on some of the moths of Clear Creek Metro Park. Once again, the first part can be found at this link: Mothing at Clear Creek: The Subtle. Thanks for reading!