“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.” ~ Eleanora Duse

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Moths are truly amazing!

I have become obsessed with moths lately. The variety is just amazing, and there are so many! I discovered a website for Butterflies and Moths of North America where you can get checklists for which ones are in a specific location. They have great photographs and lots of information on many of the species; but on some, they have very little. I pulled up a checklist for Nelson County and it showed 72 butterflies and 7 moths had been reported here. Yet on my front porch, without much effort, I've found at least 29 moths that I've positively identified and have pictures of many more I haven't identified (only 3 of these were in the 7 they listed)!

Luckily, you can submit your sitings and they'll verify your identification and add that siting to their database. Some of my photos wouldn't be worth sharing, but they're good enough to get an ID so the siting can be added. This is the only way for the database to grow folks...because there are just too many of them and too few scientists studying them. Please consider lending a hand and sending in your photos.

Here are just a few I've come across. (Note that the pictures have been cropped so all moths seem to be roughly the same size but they range from about 0.5 inch (Gray Scoopwing) to more than 3.5 inches (Luna Moth).)

Cherry Scallop Shell (Rheumaptera prunivorata)

Scarlet-Winged Lichen Moth (Hypoprepia fucosa)

Gray Scoopwing (Callizzia amorata) - notice how he partially folds his hind wings over his body

Maple Spanworm (Ennomos magnaria) - he holds up his wings and abdomen

Luna moth (Actias luna)

Lettered Sphinx (Deidamia inscriptum) - he holds up his abdomen above his wings

Hickory Tussock Moth (Lophocampa caryae)

Stone-Winged Owlet (Chytolita petrealis)
Nais Tiger Moth (Apantesis nais)

Yellow-Banded Underwing (Catocala cerogama)

Rosy Maple Moth (Dryocampa rubicunda)

Pale Beauty (Campaea perlata)

And so the butterflies don't feel slighted, here's a Silver-spotted Skipper having a little snack.

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) on red clover

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