Wednesday, September 09, 2009

More Moths: A Webworm and a Looper

Since I have been on a moth kick for the past few days, I'll add one more post on moths. These are not connected with moth night. Instead these are ones found at home or on walks.

The first is a Celery Looper Moth (Autographa or Anagrapha falcifera) from Willowwood Arboretum. I found this moth because it was fluttering around the edge of the meadow. I knew where it landed, but I had trouble finding it at first. I looked above, below, and behind the dead leaf, but I could not see it. Then I realized that the moth was one with the dead leaf.

From above:

This last image is not so good, but it shows the moth with its wings somewhat outstretched.

The second looks like it might be a firefly or wasp, but in fact it is a moth, probably a Virginia Ctenucha (Ctenucha virginica). I found it visiting goldenrod flowers at Willowwood. In this image the feathery antennae characteristic of moths are clearly visible.

The third moth is an Ailanthus Webworm Moth (Atteva punctella), found at home. According to the Kaufman guide, the larvae of this species gather on Ailanthus trees. I am happy to learn that something feeds on Ailanthus, as this plant has become an invasive pest in many areas. This adult, however, was on a lobelia plant.

I used my slide loupe to get some closer shots. Getting proper focus was a bit of a challenge.

The moth was surprisingly tolerant, but eventually it tired of my antics and flew away. I think I have some more caterpillar photos stashed somewhere on my hard drive, but those will make for a separate post.