4.06.2008

Moth Moments

Upper photo: Hubner's Pero, Pero hubneraria
(please mentally insert two dots over the "u" in "Hubner")
Lower photo: Light Marathyssa, Marathyssa basalis

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I try to take a few minutes each day at work to walk around the decks of the visitor center and see what the security lights attracted the night before. Lights left burning all night are not among my favorite things, but I guess this is one of those "lemonade from lemons" things. Since I am not high enough on the food chain to change policy, I will make the best of the situation and use it as an opportunity to add species to the database :)

The moths above represent two of the seven species observed one morning last week. The pero uses willows and alders as host plants. The photo is included because I find the moth to be very pretty -- I'm such a girl ;)

The second moth is included because it is so darn peculiar-looking. When I first saw it, I thought I was seeing the remains of a moth that had been gobbled up by some nibble predator. Upon closer examination I discovered that the abdomen wasn't missing as I had presumed, it was just curled up and over. And the wings weren't ragged, just folded. Sneaky, eh?

The coolest thing about this Light Marathyssa? Its caterpillar feeds on poison ivy! Now, I know that will bring a smile to the faces of many.

6 comments:

Jenn said...

Hey Swampie,

Just a little fyi - I recently became a Steward (volunteer) for the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy.

My web site will have a scattering of content from that work, and become more than just a backyard garden site.

Thought this might be of interest to you, as I certainly enjoy visiting the swamp, via your posts. You might enjoy the occasional trip to the desert.

I'm here at Garden Djinn:
http://gardendjinn.typepad.com/

Jane said...

Amazing. That second one is very strange. I thought it was dead... and eaten... as you did. Great post. Thanks. Jane

Cathy said...

Good news about the larva that likes poison ivy. I wonder if it would like to try a nibble of garlic mustard :0)

swamp4me said...

jenn,
I'll definitely visit the desert via your blog. Treebeard and I have always wanted to go out west to Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah...maybe one of these days we'll do it!

Jane,
It was an odd one, that's for sure.

cathy,
Yep, anything that gobbles up poison ivy deserves a gold star!
You need some cabbage whites and falcate orangetips to nibble on that obnoxious mustard ;)

thingfish23 said...

As a person who's been torched by poison ivy many times, I say Bravo to Marathyssa basalis.

(You've got answers at Middle-Grey.)

Some how, your link got lost off of the Band-Aid site as well. Sorry about that - it happened during the re-design phase! You been re-linked, FWIW.

Dana Jones said...

I had a strange creature hanging on my brick up high by the roof one day. I thought it was a bat, silly city girl that I am. I poked it with a broom and it flew away. It was a giant moth of which I have never seen one so big in my life. It had to be as big as both of my hands side by side. Now I wish I'd let it be.