Friday, June 7, 2013

More Moths!

I know, some of you are probably less than excited about moth pictures *again* on the blog, but hey, it's my blog, and I love these moths - both their fabulous diversity and fragile beauty.  It must be "moth season" because every time I leave the porch light on overnight, there are at least a few!

Marigold the goat commented on my last moth post about sphinx moths being the ones who produce those voracious tomato hornworms.  Fortunately, none of these that I've photographed are the specific variety of sphinx moth that produces the tomato hornworm.  That moth is the Five-spotted Hawkmoth (Manduca quinquemaculata).  You can click on that link to see its picture.  So far...I haven't seen any of those, thank goodness!  The ones I've been seeing are primarily moths whose larvae feed on native plants on my land, including apple, poplar and birch trees, as well as marsh and river plants, which are in abundance here.

This newcomer is Paonias excaecata, whose common name is the Blinded Sphinx moth.  It is so named because of the spot on the hind wing, which you can see (because my finger was pushing the forewing aside).  As you can see, it looks like a blue eye, but without a pupil.  Thus, blinded sphinx.

You can compare it with the One-eyed Sphinx moth (Smerinthus cerisyi) which has a "pupil" in the blue spot, as shown below.  Sorry about the shadow in the picture - it's from my porch light and was unavoidable.

The third one in this group is the Twin-spotted Sphinx (Smerinthus jamaicensis), which has two blue spots separated by a dark stripe.  I managed to take a picture of one of these a couple of days ago, but when I tried to get the eye spot, it flew away, so you'll just have to trust me on the double spot story!  Or, you can see a picture of one here.  This is the one that I phographed - a really stunning moth.  (Sorry about the copyright but I submitted it to a moth photography site that required it and now I can't remove it)

Here is another lovely moth - the Northern Apple Sphinx moth (Sphinx poecila).  I loved the fact that it was on the old red painted wood around the door frame - really made it stand out.

A couple of smaller and more subtle moths were also present.  Here's one that goes by the delightful common name of the Agreeable Tiger Moth (Spilosoma congrua).  I have no idea why it's agreeable, and I'm not sure that I'd want to meet a disagreeable tiger moth.  This one really looks like it's wearing a furry hood, like a sort of winter fairy-robe.  I absolutely wanted to pet it on the head.

This is a Spotted Tussock moth, also known as a Yellow-spotted Tiger moth. Common names can vary a lot and that's why I prefer the proper Latin taxonomic names, which for this little guy is the lofty Lophocampa maculata.

I noticed this little guy in his brown furry hat!  He's a Ruby Tiger moth (Phragmatobia fuliginosa).  I couldn't get a picture of his body, but if you could see it, it would be a deep red colour.

Last but not least, here is the impressively large and beautiful Modest Sphinx moth (Pachysphinx modesta).  I'm not sure why it's modest but perhaps it doesn't show off around the other moths.  So furry!

So there you have it - my moth menagerie.  Back to work for me!


Marigold said...

Okay. Obviously you are going to have to erect a Pyramid on your land. Or perhaps an Obelisk with Heirogylphics so all those guys can find their way. I think they are lost. :) Perhaps the agreeable one led the blind one?

Patty Woodland said...

The white one was very pretty.
I remember in Hawaii there would be moths the size of my palm. Seriously huge insects.

Spinners End Farm said...

That is an amazing diversity of moths! Is there a light near your barn? When we moved to our new house years ago it had one of those ugly mercury vapor lights on it which I hated, but it did draw an amazing number of moths in, including Luna moths, and we loved seeing them. The bat shows ar night were spectacular as well. The light burned out a few years back and while I don't miss it's intrusiveness, I do miss the moths.....

12Paws said...

Thanks for sharing--sooo interesting. When I was young & raising a family and gardening I so regret killing lots of the tomato hornworm--before I knew it would morph into the delightful sphinx moth--they are active in the day time and are very friendly & curious. They will come close & hover like a hummingbird & don't fly away while they are approached.
Onward & upward with your moth adventure!

Willow said...

I LOVE fancy moths ...they are fascinating. A Luna moth flew into our house a few years back and I gently let it land on me so I could help it get back out without injuring it . I was so thrilled to see it up close. I am still thrilled when I think of it.

Sharon Thomason said...

I just took a picture of a Luna moth today. He is still on our deck. Enjoyed your blog.

Sharon Thomason said...

I just took a picture of a Luna moth today. He is still on our deck. Enjoyed your blog.