The Bug Geek

Insects. Doing Science. Other awesome, geeky stuff.

Post hoc Moth Week: Day 1

Ok, I have to say this:

I feel like I kind of failed at Moth Week. 😦 It was not for lack of trying!

You’ll recall that I was going to revisit the same park at which I’d photographed all the lovely leps with which I left you in my last post. Well, I was there, but I had lousy luck. It rained a ton, and the slightly different forest type in which I was camping (predominantly spruce/pine rather than predominantly deciduous) made a big difference in the amount and type of understory growth and leaf litter, therefore drastically changing the moth fauna (or so it seemed). I tromped around in those woods for hours and barely stirred up half a dozen moths.

With only a small headlamp at my disposal (not to mention positively WICKED mosquitoes), I didn’t bother trying to draw them into my camp in the evenings.  I later tried collecting a few that had been attracted to the electric lights at buildings on the mainland, but I apparently need to learn some techniques for transporting live, active moths: they bashed all the scales off their wings before I could get photos of them. (The ruination of a beautiful Great Tiger Moth, Arctica caja, was a particularly devastating loss).

In desperation, I collected a bunch of neat-looking moths at my porch light yesterday night (that still counts, right???) and kept them safe in vials in my fridge until this morning, but again my inexperience with this group of insects proved to be my downfall: most of them up and flew away before I could get decent shots (how on EARTH does one get studio-style photographs of microleps??? I ask you: HOW???)

Anyways, I committed to doing moth-a-day posts this week, and I’ve managed to salvage enough photos to do just that – in fact, you’ll probably get two photos!

I will say that I’ve learned a few things about this mothing business, and I’m determined to get better at it before next year’s Moth Week. I’m hoping to find opportunities to hang out with more experienced moth’ers so I can learn the ropes first-hand…anyone know of anything or anyone in eastern Ontario?

So, for the first of this week’s post hoc Moth Week photos, I’ll start with the first two moths I encountered while camping*.

This a new one for me: the Pale-winged Gray, Iridopsis ephyraria. It took off when I disturbed its hiding place, and I froze, tracking it visually until it seemed to disappear beneath a clump of ferns. I stalked over, and scanned the area until I finally spotted it resting ON the fern.

Pale-winged Gray Moth (Iridopsis ephyraria) #6583. Photo taken with natural light.

The next is one I found quite often during my last trip. The Wavy-Lined Fan-Foot (Zanclognatha jacchusalis) is a “Litter Moth” (probably referring to the fact that they’re easily scared up out of leaf litter).

Wavy-Lined Fan-Foot (Zanclognatha jacchusalis) #8353. Photo taken using flash.

*Again, I welcome any and all ID corrections! I still have a lot to learn about these nocturnal beauties!

6 responses to “Post hoc Moth Week: Day 1

  1. nonoymanga July 30, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    Nice texture!!! Cheers Nonoy Manga

  2. Citizen Sort July 31, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    Great photographs! Moths are especially tricky to photograph but you did it very well!

    • TGIQ August 4, 2012 at 3:43 PM

      Thank you! I find I like taking photos of them in their natural environments much more than in a posed situation or on a sheet – the hard part is finding them, though, especially during the day 🙂

  3. Pingback: Post-hoc Moth Week: Day 6 (last day!) « The Bug Geek

  4. Pingback: The Weekly Flypaper » Biodiversity in Focus Blog

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