The Other Lepidopterans

I’ve been giving a lot of love to the butterflies this spring and summer, and not much attention to that other group of lepidopterans, the moths. I admit that I usually only pay attention to moths if they’re big, colorful, or both, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t taken any moth photos lately. Here’s a taste of what I’ve been seeing.

The only giant silk moth I’ve been able to find was a Polyphemus Moth, the same species I found in a Motel 6 parking lot in West Virginia last summer. I love its eye spots. You can see how a bird or other predator might mistake it for a big face looking at them!

I’ve seen several Virginia Ctenuchas around – they fly during the day, unlike giant silk moths – but the only one that held still long enough for me to get a photo was this one, which held still because it was dead. I didn’t know what it was at first, but this was one of those cases where Googling “blue moth with orange head” actually led me straight to the ID.

Another day-flying moth. This one is called the White-spotted Sable. They seem to have a habit of perching on the undersides of leaves where it’s nearly impossible to get a photo of them, so I was happy when this one landed on this clover blossom instead.

I don’t have a moth field guide of any sort – I rely on the internet, with my Kaufman insect guide to point me in the right direction. I’ve heard great things about the new Peterson guide to the moths of Northeastern North America, but unfortunately I don’t live in the Northeast!

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4 thoughts on “The Other Lepidopterans”

  1. Good job getting the photo of the White-Spotted Sable, they are flighty little things (I had to chase one all over the place to get just a few pictures).

    I have the Peterson Guide to Moths, and it turns out that what they mean by “Northeast” is “East of the Mississippi, and north of Georgia”. So we are covered pretty handily.

    1. Really? That’s great, I didn’t know that. I hadn’t seen a map of the specific area covered by the book, but I guess I just wouldn’t normally think of the “Northeast” as including the Midwest.

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