Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Callopistria cordata (after a long hiatus)

I'm finally back to recording some moth sightings on this blog after a long hiatus.  I moved from my Nova Scotia farm to a city property in Moncton, NB, during which time I did not have the opportunity to photograph moths.  I am now in Sackville, NB, and much to my delight, I am in a location that lends itself to moth photography again.  I will once again be recording moth sightings by means of this blog.

Today I'm sharing a small but pretty moth - Callopistria cordata, which has the common name of Silver-spotted Fern Moth.  Its beautiful markings make it unmistakable.  I'm not that surprised to see it here because my new home hosts many ferns, which are the source food for this lovely species.

In some ways, it reminds me of the clownfish, Amphiprion ocellaris, because of the white markings on the orange background.  At only 15 to 16 mm long, you have to keep a sharp eye out for this little moth, but it's worth watching for!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Campaea perlata - Pale Beauty

This moth, while not exactly colourful, is none the less a truly beautiful example of a geometrid moth.

The pale wings and pale but defined lines are just so delicate and clean.  This moth really does deserve its common name of "Pale Beauty."

Even though it is classified as common, I don't see these very often.  This one was photographed on August 14.  I have seen perhaps 2 or 3 since then.

The larvae are known to feed on the leaves of 65 species of both coniferous and deciduous trees and shrubs, including blueberries.  Since I live in what is often referred to as "blueberry country," I am surprised I don't see these more often!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Schizura unicornis - Unicorn Caterpillar Moth

Such a fanciful common name has been applied to this little moth!  It stems from the fact that the larval stage of this moth has a horn-like protrusion from its body.  I only managed to get one decent photograph of the moth, but it certainly was sufficient to identify it.

What struck me as unusual about this moth was the angle at which it held its wings while sitting on my wall.  It has a very striking angle, as if it's preparing for take-off!

I snapped this one on August 12, and that's normal for this moth - it does appear later in the season.

The larvae feed on a wide range of plants and trees, including alder, apple, aspen, birch, elm, hawthorn, hickory and willow.  There is plenty of alder on my farm, as well as aspen, apple and birch, not to mention elm.  No wonder it decided my place was a good spot to hang out!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Feltia herilis - Master's Dart Moth

This beauty is a later-season moth around my area - at least, that's what I've noticed in terms of their appearance on my wall.  The Master's Dart moth almost looks like it is wearing a ball gown with gold detailing on a black surface.  Perhaps it's a black cape, with gold symbols to indicate superpowers?!

It's so difficult to get the photographs to show the shimmer that dusts the wings of this moth.
This was my first sighting of F. herilis, and it was on August 12. Since then, I've seen several of them after they've been attracted to my porch light.

Unfortunately, the larvae is a type of cutworm.  It feeds on over 40 different plant species.  Nonetheless, I think the moth is stunning, and I share all the moths I find here, so it deserves its place as much as any other!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Dryocampa rubicunda (Rosy Maple Moth)

This startlingly bright moth certainly caught my attention when I spotted it on the wall outside the house.  It is commonly called the Rosy Maple Moth, but I would really prefer to call it the Strawberry Vanilla Swirl Moth, because it looks like an ice cream sundae to me!
Quite honestly, it hardly looks real!  It looks like something that someone might create as a stuffed animal version of a moth, with the hope of appealing to young girls with bedrooms decorated in pink.  It's fuzzy yellow thorax and pink legs are just charming!
When I spotted it, it was sitting with a friend.  I'm not sure what species the friend is, but it probably is quite envious of the colourful outfit sported by the Rosy Maple Moth.
As you might have guessed from the name, the larvae of this moth eat maple leaves, but also they eat sycamore, beech and oak.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Lophocampa maculata (Spotted Tussock Moth)

This is Lophocampa maculata, and as you can see from the pictures, the markings can vary somewhat in both design and intensity of colour in the paler and darker individuals below.

I see this moth quite frequently, although usually the ones I see are males.  More recently, I was able to capture a female of the species and keep it in a paper bag for a couple of nights.  Why would I do such a thing?

Well, I'm actually participating in a "citizen science" project supporting the research of a scientist who is studying this moth, and variations in the larval form of it.  I saved the moth in the bag for 2 nights to allow it to lay eggs, which I was then able to send to the researcher.  I keep track of when I see this species and send a note to the researcher with a photograph, in order to support his record-keeping.

It's exciting to be able to contribute information to a project just by watching what happens right outside my front door.

Here's a picture of my captured female (who was released following her egg laying).
The larval form of this species feeds on poplar and willow leaves, as well as other native species including alder, birch, maple and oak.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Sphinx poecila (Northern Apple Sphinx)

Today's moth is the lovely Sphinx poecila, which I spotted on the red wood trim around my front door.  This large moth is quite distinct, with its fuzzy black thorax and the checkerboard pattern along the edge of the wings.  I really like the way that its colour matches the weathered wood underneath the old paint!
The larvae of this species feed on apple and blueberry leaves, which are abundant in my area.  They also feed upon meadowsweet (Spirea spp.), spruce and tamarack, which are also common around here.  I'm surprised I haven't seen this moth more frequently.  The adults of this species also feed, but they drink nectar from flowers.