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.

No comments:

Post a Comment