Tuesday, March 01, 2011

First Moth of the Year: Spring Cankerworm

Last Thursday, I found my first moth of the year. It was sitting on the car, parked under a streetlight in an otherwise empty parking lot. I captured and brought it home, refrigerated it, took some photos in daylight, and released it outside. It did not take much searching to find the ID, as it is one of the moths presented in Eaton and Kaufman's insect guide. This is a very common Spring Cankerworm Moth (Paleacrita vernata), a member of the Geometridae. Larvae pupate underground and spend the winter in the soil. Adults emerge as early as February and fly from February through May. Even before seeing this moth, I had been thinking it might be worth putting out the moth light soon. Maybe I will once the rest of the snow is gone from my mothing area.