Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Moths at the Porchlight

Ailanthus Webworm Up Close

On Saturday night I left the porchlight on for part of the evening to draw in some moths. One odd thing I have noticed this summer is that I seem to get better results on cooler nights (i.e., temperature below 70°F). This seems the reverse of what should happen, as there ought to be more insect activity on warmer nights. Perhaps it is just a matter of the moths being less willing to settle down and sit still when it is really warm. In any case, here are a few of the moths from Saturday night.

Ailanthus Webworm Moth

The first is an Ailanthus Webworm Moth (Atteva punctella). These moths are native to North America but adopted Ailanthus as a larval host plant after the tree was introduced to this continent. The moth species is very common in my area, no doubt thanks to the abundance of invasive host plants. Adults of this species often nectar at flowers.

Large Lace-border #2

The second species is Large Lace-border (Scopula limboundata). This appears very similar to another moth species I recorded earlier in the summer, Single-dotted Wave (Idaea dimidiata). Larvae feed on a variety of plants.

Aethes sp.

The last moth is a Tortricid. I think it belongs in the genus Aethes, which places it in a complex of very similar looking species. It bears close resemblance to A. promptana and A. angustana, but I am not sure that its true identity can be determined on the basis of a photograph alone.