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Posts Tagged ‘Great Leopard Moth’

Birding slows down during summer and I always hope to use that time to catch up with chores around the house.  It never works out that way, though.  Last summer I had major surgery and got hooked on moths during my recovery.  This summer I continued watching moths, but, amazingly, I was able to keep it from becoming a full-blown obsession.  My interest in butterflies picked up, however, so between birds, butterflies, and moths, I still managed to neglect my house and chores.

Rosy Maple Moth, Dryocampa rubicunda, a favorite from this summer.

Rosy Maple Moth, Dryocampa rubicunda, a favorite from this summer.

Getting an earlier start with moths this year meant that I saw a lot of species that I missed last year when I started in August.  I’ve been fascinated with green moths ever since I found a list of them on BugGuide.  In May I saw a nice one, this Green Leuconycta.  If you click on a photo in any of my posts, it will display the full-size image in a new tab or window.

Green Leuconycta Moth, Leuconycta diphteroides

Green Leuconycta Moth, Leuconycta diphteroides

Butterflies started getting my attention when my friend Lois and I surveyed Bethania’s Black Walnut Bottoms for the official NABA (North American Butterfly Association) count on May 31.  My favorite from that day was this gorgeous gravid female Southern Broken-Dash butterfly.

Southern Broken-Dash (female)

Southern Broken-Dash (female)

Moths started getting really interesting in June.  Below is a male Tulip-tree Silkmoth, another of my favorites from this summer.

Tulip-tree Silkmoth, Callosamia angulifera

Tulip-tree Silkmoth, Callosamia angulifera

This Catalpa Sphinx may have to have been seen to be appreciated.  It was huge with a wingspan of nearly four inches.  He sure got my attention when he came zooming in to the deck light while I was standing there.

Catalpa Sphinx Moth, Ceratomia catalpae

Catalpa Sphinx Moth, Ceratomia catalpae

I saw my first Great Leopard Moth on my kitchen window in 2010.  I wasn’t even “moth-ing” then, but it caught my attention as something special.  I was thrilled to see one again this summer.  It was absolutely gorgeous.

 

Great Leopard Moth, Hypercompe scribonia

Great Leopard Moth, Hypercompe scribonia

Moths in the genus Catocala are sometimes referred to as “underwing moths” or just “underwings.”  The name Catacala is of Greek origin and roughly translates as “beautiful hindwings.”  These moths have dull cryptic forewings for camouflage during the day.  When disturbed, they flash their brightly colored underwings which may resemble eyes and act as a defense.  Many moths in this group have common names with a female or marriage theme, so we have The Darling, The Girlfriend, The Bride, The Newlywed, The Widow, and others with similar names.  I saw the underwings of only one Catocala this summer, the simply-named Ultronia Underwing.

Ultronia Underwing, Catocala ultronia

Ultronia Underwing, Catocala ultronia

I also found a few moths during bird or butterfly outings.  Peter Keller went to Pilot Mountain on the evening of June 15 with hopes of capturing and attaching a geolocator to the last Wood Thrush for the Audubon project and I tagged along.  Unfortunately, the attempt was unsuccessful.  While waiting alone in the woods while the others went to take down the mist nets as darkness fell, I attracted this little moth with only the light from my flashlight.

Blepharomastix ranalis

Blepharomastix ranalis

A week later, I was back at Pilot Mountain, this time with Gene Schepker on a butterfly walk.  The surprise for the day was this lovely little Rare Spring Moth.

Rare Spring Moth, Heliomata infulata

Rare Spring Moth, Heliomata infulata

And here’s a butterfly that we found on that Pilot Mountain butterfly walk, a Hoary Edge (skipper).

Hoary Edge

Hoary Edge

I photographed this Sachem (another skipper) on the last day of June and inadvertently caught it with its proboscis all neatly rolled up, which I found fascinating.  But, you already know that it doesn’t take much to entertain me.

Sachem

Sachem

So, that’s a very brief summary of my moth and butterfly adventures through June.  Even after severe culling, I couldn’t limit the photos enough for only one post.  Stay tuned for part 2 of The Summer of the Lepidoptera.

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