|Black Witch moth - Jill Hays|
"Wednesday morning when I was on my way out to see neotropical migrants I opened the garage door and this moth flew in and landed on the wall! How cool!Birders frequently become a mothers, which I will spell moth-ers to avoid a fear of pregnancy. The ability to identify moths by shape and color comes naturally to birders and they don't have to learn the calls or songs. Mothing is cheap, comparing a light and a sheet, or even just a porch light to the cost of binoculars and gas to drive around looking for birds.
I am an addicted birder and I think moths and others are calling me as well! I have some friends from St. Louis who came down this summer and set up a light and sheet to see and photograph moths at Steve and Debbie Martin's property. We were up until almost 3:00 am before we realized it, looking at all the moths. It was fabulous!"
The Black Witch is a particularly fascinating species. It is a tropical species from Central America and the Caribbean that migrates in the summer northward as far as Canada. It is reported throughout the US and Canada although it is rare in most locales. The host plants for its caterpillars are in the legume (pea) family including our Kentucky Coffeetree.
In its native southern range it has a fearsome reputation in the local folklore. It is considered a harbinger of death in Central America with many frightening local common names associated with death and dying. In portions of Mexico, if one flies over your head, you will lose your hair! When it gets to southern Texas, if it lands in your house you will supposedly win the lottery. A garage in Missouri? You get to start your own legend, maybe a new ATV?
|Ailanthus moth - Jon Rapp|
|Rapp at work - Click to enlarge|
Keep your eyes open and you too can become a moth-er. You can find moths almost anywhere, including at our swimming hole.
|Polyphemus hanging out on the creek- REK|