Monday, August 20, 2012

Marvelous moths from the north (mostly)

Moths are fantastic and with the recent publication of some excellent print and on-line guides, the identification of adults and caterpillars is within reach of amateur naturalists. We've crossed paths with some very nice larvae in recent weeks and 'though we guessed the families of each, we needed help to pin down the specific IDs.

The most impressive was this bruiser found by Martha's great uncle beside the Bay of Quinte, near Napanee. It was about huge - close to 110 mm in length - likely a final instar.

Eacles imperialis - Imperial Moth (Saturniidae)
Aug 9, 2012. Adolphustown, Lennox and Addington Co..

The next was one of the "hummingbird moths" whose day-flying adults are conspicuous visitors to wild and cultivated flowers in the north. Note the 'horn', a characteristic of sphingid larvae.

Hemaris diffinis - Snowberry Clearwing (Sphingidae)
July 17, 2012. Steel River, Thunder Bay District.

A few days ago this fuzzy character revealed itself atop a birch leaf in our back yard. I can't tell the bow from the stern.

Lophocampa maculata - Spotted Tussock Moth (Arctiidae)
Aug 16, 2012. Town of Marathon, Thunder Bay District.

And finally, here's a large (length ~60 mm) adult moth that was new to us (both the species and the family) when we found it washed up on the rocks after a windy night while we were camped on Nipigon Bay, near Red Rock.

Sthenopis purpurascens - Purplish Ghost Moth (Hepialidae)
July 24, 2011. Red Rock, Thunder Bay District.

This is of one of many boreal species whose accounts can be found in the very nice, entry-level Moths and Caterpillars of the North Woods.

Previously blogged moths:

  • Ontario Moths - some brilliant photos from David Beadle.
  • Requiem for a Moth - a 28 minute documentary from BBC radio profiling the knowledgeable, passionate and poetic souls who seek to appreciate and demystify the moth fauna of the UK.
  • Moths and Butterflies of Britain and Ireland - a new app that hopefully presages the development of a similar ID tool covering New World species.

1 comment:

  1. Hi - my sister had just this 'thing' land on her sandal in the Thunder Bay area:
    Is it a ghost moth? Is it so common it should not be saved for you experts?
    Lil sis from Finland is asking.