Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Porch Light Life

Laurel Sphinx, Sphinx kalmiae - REK
Moth Wall - REK
The moths have been collecting on the wall by our deck light the last week. The Laurel Sphinx Moth above is 2.5 inches long (60mm) and is always laying on the deck, unlike almost all the other species.  We have had daily visits from the Yellow-orange Imperial Moths, Eacles imperialis, some of whom are in the 'family way.'  More on that in a future blog.  The picture on the right shows 5 different species of moths in one view.  I am compiling some of the more colorful species in this Flickr album with the identification help of Kevin Firth.

Bumelia Leafworm Moth - REK

Some of the micromoths can be quite colorful and are easy to overlook, hiding in the folds of the porch swing or in the cracks of the wall.  My personal favorite is the Bumelia Leafworm Moth, Lactura pupula.  This one is very slender and measured 3/4". 

Wheel Bug Nymph- REK
There is a lot more life to find on the wall when I turn off the light in the morning.  Young pale green walking sticks, leaf-footed bugs and other curious species show up.  This wheel bug nymph was 1/2" long and easy to photograph as it is weeks away from developing its wings.

The cicada chorus is almost deafening at night and starts up again in the morning.  We are finding them around the house on the walls randomly, not apparently drawn to the light.  They are so common that I don't give them much thought, at least not as much as Linda Bower does.  If you have ever wanted to watch a cicada groom or handle essential bodily functions, her Youtube video here is your chance.  It didn't seem to be annoyed by the voyeuristic video camera until the last of the filming.  These are her notes;
"This female peed twice (repeated at 10x slow motion) and gave great views of her anatomy. Walking and climbing is shown 2-5x faster. Identified by Chao Jimmy Wu as a Neotibicen pruinosus female. He said, "This one's a bit 'different' since the ventral abdominal stripe is pretty bold and not TOO irregular (which is more of a linnei/robinsonianus trait). Female N. robinsonianus also has the paired pruinose spots. However, they tend to be a bit smaller and less bold. Lack of wing bowage (which really isn't all that great of a character though still useful), more or less rules out N. linnei." Filmed in the Missouri Ozarks, USA, on August 6, 2017."
Copperhead in a tree - Sheila Watson
If you are out at night in the rural areas, take a flashlight.  We have been seeing copperheads are out in the yard looking for dinner and John Miller tells us that cicadas are their M&Ms.  Check the trees as well because they will climb them looking for dessert.  So far none have climbed our house wall, but nothing would surprise us any more.