Monday, June 14, 2010

More June Moths

Here are a few moths I found over the weekend. My usual procedure with moths I find at night is to capture them, refrigerate them overnight, and then photograph them during the day and release them. Photographing them during the day makes the colors look more natural without the harsh glare of a point-and-shoot camera's flash. It also makes it easier to add a ruler for scale. Some moths are more cooperative than others; sometimes one will escape before I can get any good photos of it. Others, like the one above, will cling to the side of their containers.

That one eventually did sit on the paper so that I could photograph its upperside. I think this is a Barberry Geometer Moth. As the name suggests, its larvae feed on barberry (Berberis sp.). Most likely it evolved eating the native American Barberry but expanded to the invasive Japanese Barberry as an alternate host plant. This one probably dined on one of the Japanese Barberry shrubs in the neighborhood. I found this one nectaring at Butterfly Weed.

I think this second moth is a Small Mossy Lithacodia. Most illustrations I have seen of this species have much more vivid colors. This one might just be a worn individual because otherwise the pattern is a close match.

One of the reasons I really like about noctuids like the lithacodia is that they look very cute from the side.

This last moth is a Speckled Renia Moth. I have already seen this species at least once this summer. In addition to these moths, I have a couple of tiny moths, but it will take a while longer to identify those.