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.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

More Moths

Last month I posted on photographing night time moths. Here are a few more. This is the Tulip-tree Silk Moth, Callosamia angulifera. I always jump to conclusions when I see one and yell out Promethia! I keep forgetting Promethia males have solid brown wings, and lack the white hammer shape. My bad.

Arched Hook-tip, Drepana arcuata. Similar to Inchworm moths, those fish hooks at the end of the wings put them into a separate family.

Looking very similar to the Hebrew Moth, Polygrammate hebraeicum,  this Noctuid is the Black Zigzag, Panthea acronyctoides. It is larger than the Hebrew, and the thick black streaks in the middle and outer edge also serve to separate it. Black and white patterns always stand out on a sheet. I see this moth every year, and in our area they are always white. The moth is usually very black and gray elsewhere.

Of particular interest to me was this slug moth (of course). I had a discussion about this moth with David and Laura Hughes. In the dark of night, it looks like the Purple Crested Slug A. spinuloides. Thank goodness for camera flash. Turns out it is Adoneta bicaudata, the other Crested Slug. So if you two are reading this post, this IS the rare one. The orange and yellow color is the key. Originally found in only three S.E. Ohio counties, we can now add Fairfield and Perry to the list. Still, it seems limited to our unglaciated corner of the state.

This freshly hatched specimen and its color pattern had me confounded. Nothing matches exactly, but I believe it is Zanclognatha laevigata. I've posted on these before, and I always refer to them as the Dog-face Owlets. A more recent name is the Variable Fan-foot.

Another one that has me wondering. I'm actually too close for a good identification. I believe it is Lochmaeus manteo, the Variable Oakleaf Prominent. Variable is right, as I never seem to find two that are exactly the same. Note the bushy hairs on the face, wings, and legs.

Nemoria bistriaria, Red-fringed Emerald. There are a lot of species of green emerald inchworms, and most are not pictured in field guides. Many are more southern in range. There is a MONA fascicle (Moths of North America) that illustrates these. While expensive, it is comprehensive, and has detailed descriptions on how to separate them all. The pink face is not unique to one species.

In the recent Peterson guide, N. rubrifrontaria looks similar, but the records are rather scattered for the midwest, and it has not been officially recorded in Ohio. To keep them all apart, look for three things. 1) Is the wing edge fringed in red or just white. 2) Is the body spotted, striped or plain green. 3) Is the large white line in the wings straight (like this one) or zig-zag and wavy.

Unadorned Carpet, Hydrelia inornata. One of the very small Inchworms.

I think I know why I left these photos for later. Many are difficult and confusing. This is yet another Inchworm from the genus Pero. This group of moths have the habit of folding the outer portion of their wing. There are three widely occurring species in Ohio. P. ancetaria usually has whitish outer wing margins, not burnt tan like these. In P. morrisonaria, the center of the wing and wing bases are mottled in orange, not solid chocolate brown like this. That leaves the Honest Pero, Pero honestaria.

Azalea Sphinx, Darapsa choerilus. Because of the similar hind wings, it is sometimes confused with the Hog or Virginia Creeper Sphinx, D. myron. That moth has primarily green patches in the wings. Azalea Sphinx is an orange colored species dusted with pink-purple.

In my previous moth post I pictured the Small-eyed Sphinx. The eye spot in that species is surrounded by mostly a large yellow patch. This is the Blinded or Blind-eyed Sphinx, Paonias excaecata. The eye spot on this species is encased with a lot of thick black mascara, and the eye lid liner is bright pink.

Clemens' Bark Moth, Xylesthia pruniramiella. This micro moth, barely a quarter inch in length, is part of the Tineidae or Clothes Moth family. Look for the white cap of hair, the scale bumps down the back, and the upwardly curved back of the wings.

A Tortricid Leaf Roller moth. That's about as far as I can take it. This is an example of having to see the wings spread to identify the striped pattern at the wing tips not visible here. I never come across species where the two white patches actually touch each other. Epiblema dorsisuffusana is close. When you post a species you are not sure of, use the phrase "close to or near".

Acronicta americana, American Dagger Moth. Though it seemed smaller than normal, there are not many Dagger moths of this size, especially ones with such dark hind wings.

A Lightning-bug or Firefly of the genus Photuris. This group of Fireflies are larger than most. The multiple yellow stripes help narrow it to a genus. This is the group whose females mimic the flashes of other species. She lures in males who think they will be mating with their own females, only to become a meal. Like a Mantis or Black Widow, consuming the male does enrich her, but there is another more important reason. Other species contain defensive chemicals that Photuris does not possess. After eating other species, she retains the defense, and those chemicals are also used to coat and protect her eggs.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Dennis,

    Great post! Thanks for identifying the slug. That's really cool that it was the rare one. We had never seen it before!

    Laura Hughes