The Bug Geek

Insects. Doing Science. Other awesome, geeky stuff.

Post-hoc Moth Week: Day 6 (last day!)

I’m going to wrap up the NMW posts today, finishing off with two more last-minute-porch-light finds.  I’ll be continuing to observe my backyard moths this summer, so don’t be surprised if you see more moth posts in the months to come!

Both of today’s moths are are flashy stunners, with surprises under their forewings.

This is a gorgeous Tiger moth I’m fairly certain I’ve never seen before. The striking black spots on otherwise pure white wings and the black-and-white striped feet lead me to suspect this is the Salt Marsh Moth, Estigmene acrea.

Salt Marsh Moth, Estigmene acrea (#8131)

As if it wasn’t already special enough, an accidental more-rough-than-I-meant-to touch prompted it to suddenly flash open its wings, revealing a startling orange underwing and a black and orange-striped abdomen. It curled its abdomen upwards, flopped on its side rather dramatically and even oozed a little yellow haemolymph from the point where its forelegs attached to its thorax. I had to prop it back on its belly for this photo, then over the course of about ten seconds or so it slowly closed its wings and resumed its normal relaxed posture. Only the males have the orange underwings (females’ are white). These are generalist feeders that nibble on a variety of deciduous trees, veggies, fruits and crops.

Salt Marsh Moth in a defensive posture

And last but not least, a large (probably about 1.75″ long ) and beautiful underwing moth. I always get excited when I spot one of these lovely creatures – the flash of orange, yellow or pink beneath the otherwise well-camouflaged wings are such a treat! I have to say, I’m having trouble IDing this one with my new Peterson guide. It had pinkish underwings I think, but I was unable to get a photo before it took off (this one was still fluttering away in the fridge after being “chilled out” over night!)

Update: commenter Roger has helped out again with this mystery…he’s on a roll!!!

http://mothphotographersgroup.msstate.edu/species.php?hodges=8857
looks like Catocala ultronia f. lucinda

Well, that beings this year’s Moth Week to a close! I’m looking forward to next year’s event already, and congratulations to the organizers for developing such a hugely successful program!

And, just in case you missed them, here are the links to the first five day’s posts:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

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2 responses to “Post-hoc Moth Week: Day 6 (last day!)

  1. Pingback: Field season in the Yukon – part 1 (the Yukon is ridiculously pretty) « The Bug Geek

  2. Citizen Sort August 7, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    I’m not an expert moth classifier so I don’t know if that really is Salt Marsh Moth but it is a wonderful find! A really beautiful moth. Nicely done!

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