|Giant Leopard Moth|
Rather than edit them for beauty, I put these photographs together just as I shot them on the wall for identification. Some of them I already recognized, but I ran all of them through INaturalist.com just to demonstrate how you could identify your own. I was able to quickly identify 12 of the 19 species by INaturalist alone.
One of my favorites that morning was the Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth, Malacosoma americanum. This cutie is the first adult moth of the species that I have ever found. We will be writing on this species soon as they will soon be depositing their eggs on our plum trees. Unlike the Fall Web Worms, these are well behaved and scattered on only a few trees although they could be a major pest in a fruit orchard.
Even a drab gray moth becomes distinctive when photographed close up. This is a Porcelain Gray, Protoboarmia porcelaria. Their caterpillars eat a variety of pines and junipers including our ubiquitous Eastern Red Cedars.
Sodium lamp and a sheet attracts moths, and moth-ers
Soon we will be holding more formal "mothings" before the official National Moth Week. We will use special lamps and black light on white sheets that put out light in color spectrums that can be irresistible to moths. Special fermented baits are also used to draw moths, usually a mixture of beer or apple cider with over-ripe bananas painted on tree trunks. Other insects and of course ants will show up so pick your tree carefully.
One final caveat, when moths land with their wings spread, they may look much different than when they are hanging out all night in a different pose. See below for different views of the Glorious Habrosyne Moth, Habrosyne gloriosa.
|Glorious Habrosyne Moth |
Meanwhile, back at the porch light, I have all compiled all 19 pictures into this Flickr album. Try you own Porchlight Moths tonight.