Flora and fauna of the Athens County area, and occasionally habitats outside Ohio. Subject matter will consist of both interpretive material and taxonomic issues in plant and animal identification.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Mothapalooza II

We just wrapped up another sold out Mothapalooza extravaganza. My vial caught the attention of one or two small beetles, but I didn't grab a single moth. As I mentioned last year, this is not a collecting event, but an interpretive one. With that in mind, I hope I contributed something to peoples understanding of moths. The average novice fan made it clear to me they were more interested in recognizing families or groups of moths by their size and wing shapes than memorizing species names. Still I would be remiss if I didn't list the names on these photographs.

I also took a minimum number of photographs, so this will be a short post. Above is the Wild Cherry Moth, Apatelodes torrefacta. A common name I learned some 40 years ago, and I remain old school. Today it is better known as the Spotted Apatelodes.

Also like last year, nature walks included more than moths. Birds, wildflowers, ferns, dragonflies, damselflies, etc. etc. I was fortunate to lead three walks with Dave Horn, and I think we made a good team. This is the Double-striped Bluet, Enallagma basidens. It is common state wide, and the only bluet I know that has the black shoulder stripe cut in half by a thin blue streak. Click on the photo to see it.

The Flat-backed Yellow Millipede, Apheloria virginiensis. There were people on our hike that had never experienced the smell of this guy. Shake one up in your hand and sniff Maraschino cherry or almond odor.

A large yellow Stonefly peeks out from the forest leaves. Notice the three light sensing organs, or ocelli on its head.

Okay, let's look at some of the moths. This is the Clymene Tiger Moth, Haploa clymene. While the wings can be white, they are most often this pale yellow color. The outline of a submarine appears down the back. Most other Haploa moths have white hindwings. This species has two dark circles imbedded in a rich mustard yellow color.

Dark-banded Geometer, Ecliptopera atricolorata.

Four-spotted Inchworm, Trigrammia quadrinotaria. Inchworm moths are like butterflies, in the sense they have narrow bodies and broad wings. The family is Geometridae. Think geometry. Many have wings whose margins are angled, pointed, or scalloped, and so not always perfectly round.

Another Inchworm that had me fooled. Dave Wagner was scratching his head over this for the longest time. Turns out it is an unusual color form of the Straight-lined Plagodis, Plagodis phlogosaria. While there are records showing this green sheen, most of the time this moth is yellow with pink and purple marks. You just never know what you may find. Four other orders of insects even stopped by to check it out.

A Tussock Moth larva of the genus Dasychira. While the name tussock moth is often applied to the tiger moths, this caterpillar belongs to the "true" tussock family Lymantridae (or Erebidae of some authors.) Many are familiar with the white-marked tussock, and its punk spiked white hairs on the back. These black hair tufts belong to a different species, which one I am not certain.

One of the Datana Prominent Moths. Up close you can see the individual hairs sticking up on the thorax. The wing patterns resemble dead leaves. Sometimes they will wrap their wings around a brach and look like a broken twig.

A male Black-waved Flannel Moth, Megalopyge crispata. Formerly in the genus Lagoa, that name is out of date. Flannel Moths have raised crinkly scales that look like wool. They are related to the Slug Moths, and their caterpillars can sting.

Let's not leave out the micros. This is a Gelechid moth, most of which are brown and look alike. This distinctive pattern belongs to Dichomeris flavocostella, the Cream-bordered Dichomeris. It also has bright orange mouth palps that curve above the head.

When I first saw this I called it a Tortricid Leaf Roller. Good thing I looked again. I was wrong. Hey, there are only 13,000 moth species in North America, give me a break! This is a member of the Tineidae family. That is the family that contains those pesky Clothes Moths. It's called the White-banded Kearfottia, Kearfottia albifascella. Why not a leaf-roller? First I noticed the jagged line at the border of the black and white. More importantly is the white tuft of hairs sticking up from the ends of the wing. You can see it on the second pic. The yellow color in the first pic is due to camera flash.

What would a moth trip be without something big and showy. Coming into the light was this female IO Moth, Automeris io. The males have the yellow wings.

Silk Moths become pretty docile after landing. Here I nudged the wings in hopes she would open them up.

Whala! Voila! There it is. You are now being stared at. Let's here it for the moths!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post and photos, Dennis. Major thanks for being part of the event. There's no way Mothapalooza would fly without the contributions of experts such as yourself. Your name often arose at the sheets when a slug moth would appear :-) And thanks for the flannel moth info - I need to drop Lagoa in favor of Megalopyge!