Friday, June 28, 2013

Lappet Moth - Phyllodesma americana

Today's moth is a small brown moth that isn't startlingly beautiful or particularly attention-grabbing, but in my opinion, it is a moth emulating the appearance of a small hedgehog.  The shape of its head and the way its wing has a slightly scalloped appearance along the top edge give it that snuffling hedgehog look.
It may be hard to tell from this close-up, but this moth also looks rather like a brown dried leaf at first glance.  

Speaking of leaves, the larvae feed on alder, poplar, birch, oak and willow leaves, among others.  It's a fairly common moth throughout much of North America.  This was was spotted on June 1st, 2013.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Plagodis keutzingi - The Purple Plagodis

This little moth goes by the very fanciful common name of The Purple Plagodis.  To me, it sounds like an architectural feature of some kind.  Imagine the description of the trim on an old Victorian house - a profusion of white scrollwork detail, topped with a purple plagodis.  Doesn't that sound appropriate?

Here's the real thing - not quite so grand as its name might suggest, but still a lovely species.
I spotted it on my porch light on the morning of June 24.

The larvae feed on ash trees, which are abundant in this area.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sphinx kalmiae - Laurel Sphinx

This stunning Sphinx kalmiae was waiting to be photographed on the wall outside my door this morning.

I used the tip of my finger to gently move the forewing in order to expose the striped hindwing.  The wingspan of this beauty can exceed 4 inches!

The larval stage of this moth feeds on laurel (Kalmia latifolia), giving the moth its common name.  Other food species for the larvae include ash and poplar trees, fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus), privet, and mountain holly.  The adult moth drinks nectar from bouncing bet (Saponaria officinalis) and Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica).