Friday, 4 August 2017

Backyard Sphinx and Underwing moths for June & July

With the exception of the One-eyed Sphinx (Smerinthus cerisyi), a new backyard species, I’ve had all of the following moth species in my backyard light trap over the years but this is the first time I’ve had them all in the same year.

The One-eyed Sphinx was showing some wear and I was unable to get an open winged shot of the Briseis Underwing (Catocala briseis) before it got away but I think they still make reasonable photographs.  The Underwings can be tricky to separate but given its size, a wingspan at least 8cm, colour and wide black bands, I am reasonably confident that the first photograph is a Once-married Underwing (Catocala unijuga).

I’ve had a good number of new backyard species during our extended hot spell which I will be blogging about in the near future.


Wednesday, 28 June 2017

27th-28th June

There were 15 Macro moths of 8 species in my light trap on the 27th and 29 moths of 13 species last night.  The numbers appear to be picking a bit up now.  It was nice that, for once, the Geometrids stayed still long enough for a few photographs.  All the photographs consist of at least 2 images that were “stacked” in Photoshop.  Stacking allows me to get a better depth of field.

Crocus Geometer moth (Xanthotype sospeta) is difficult to separate from False Crocus Geometer Moth (Xanthotype urticaria) but I’ve tentatively put this one down as Crocus Geometer because of the paler yellow colour and relatively smaller and less prominent markings.

I’ve also included a photograph of one micro moth, Pyrausta nicalis.

Crocus-Geometer-(Xanthotype-sospeta)False Bruce Spanworm (Speranza loricaria)Yellow-dusted-Cream (Cabera erythemaria)Anicla-tepperiBristly-Cutworm-(Lacinipolia-renigera)Little-White-Lichen-Moth-(Clemensia-albata)Pyrausta-nicalis

Thursday, 22 June 2017

20th-21st June

I finally got around to running the light trap overnight on the 20th June and last night.  There were 12 macro moths of 8 species in trap yesterday morning and 5 macro moths of 4 species in the trap this morning.  Neighbourly Arches (Lacinipolia vicina) and Large Looper (Autographa ampla) were the new species for the year. 

The following species were the ones photographed yesterday morning.  It’s always nice to see a Putnams Looper (Plusia putnami).  I believe the micro moth is a Large Aspen Tortrix Moth (Choristoneura conflictana).

Putnams Looper Moth (Plusia putnami)Yellow-Headed Cutworm (Apamea amputatrix)Grey-Dagger3637 Large Aspen Tortrix Moth (Choristoneura conflictana)

Thursday, 6 April 2017

The Moths are back!

I didn’t blog much at all last year but aim to be more active in 2017.  With that in mind and given the warmer weather, I decided to put my backyard light trap out last night.  I wasn’t disappointed as there were 4 moths of 4 species in the trap this morning and one of these appears to be a Goat Sallow Moth (Homoglaea hircina) which is a new backyard species.  Assuming that my ID is correct, that’s not a bad start to the mothing year!

Here’s the list and a few photographs taken this morning.

Speckled Green Fruitworm (Orthosia hibisci)
Western Swordgrass Moth (Xylena thoracica)
Dot-and-Dash Swordgrass (Xylena curvimacula)
Goat Sallow Moth (Homoglaea hircina)


Monday, 18 April 2016

17th-18th April – Lappet Moth

Not too much to report but I have had my first Lappet Moths (Phyllodesma Americana) since 2013.  One was in the light trap yesterday (17th) and two this morning.  Tricky to photograph well and one of these photographs was taken on my deck table as it just wouldn’t pose on anything else…


Friday, 15 April 2016

First Moths of 2016

I’ve had the light trap out 6 times since April 2nd and have recorded 27 moths of 4 species.  21 of these were Speckled Green Fruitworm moths (Orthosia hibisci).  1 of the species, a Western Woodling (Egira rubrica), was recorded in Lethbridge on the 9th April.  This appears to be quite an early Alberta record.  Given the recent warm weather I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I see a few more early records.

The other species were the expected:

False Pinion - Litholomia napaea
Western Swordgrass - Xylena thoracica

Egira rubrica 1KEgira rubrica

Speckled Green Fruitworm (Orthosia hibisci)Untitled_Panorama9k

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

2015 Backyard Macro Moth Summary

As I have already had my first few moths of 2016, I thought it was about time that I completed last years summary…

In 2015 I counted 3,222 macro moths consisting of 160 species.  There were more than 3,222 moths in my bait and light traps but 3,222 are the moths that I could identify with a reasonable level of confidence.  Of course, there are always a few moths which are a best guess based on location, date of occurrence etc.

The 10 most common moths were as follows.  No real surprises here.

Common Name Scientific Name No’ of Records
Glassy Cutworm Apamea devastator 452
Thoughtful Apamea Apamea cogitata 398
Bristly Cutworm Moth Lacinipolia renigera 382
Olive Arches Lacinipolia olivacea 173
Vancouver Dart Agrotis vancouverensis 165
Bronzed Cutworm Moth Nephelodes minians 154
Setaceous Hebrew Character Xestia c-nigrum 139
Civil Rustic Platyperigea montana 124
The Mottled Rustic Caradrina morpheus 109
Lesser Wainscot Mythimna oxygala 92

I recorded 19 new backyard moth species in 2015.  This was up from only 7 in 2014.  I think a possible reason for the improvement was a drier June which allowed me to put the light trap out more often.  Once again, my thanks go to Gary Anweiler for his help identifying the new moths!!  Even when I think I know what the moth is (and I often don’t) it’s great to get confirmation of a new backyard species.

Here’s the list of the new backyard species for 2015 followed by some new species photographs.

Pale-marked Angle Moth (Macaria signaria)
Gray Spruce Looper Moth (Caripeta divisata)
Mountain Girdle Moth (Enypia griseata)
Small Phoenix Moth (Ecliptopera silaceata)
White-ribboned Carpet Moth (Mesoleuca ruficillata)
Wormwood pug (Eupithecia absinthiata)
Sigmoid Prominent Moth (Clostera albosigma)
Isabella Tiger Moth (Pyrrharctia isabella)
Northern Pine Tussock Moth (Dasychira plagiata)
Colorful Zale Moth (Zale minerea)
Frigid Owlet Moth (Nycteola frigidana)
Pink-barred Lithacodia (Pseudeustrotia carneola)
Splendid Dagger Moth (Acronicta superans)
Brown-lined Sallow Moth (Sympistis badistriga)
Orthodes obscura
Old Man Dart Moth (Agrotis vetusta)
Praevia Dart Moth (Xestia praevia)
Two-spot Dart Moth (Eueretagrotis perattentus)
Abagrotis hermina

 6344 Pale-marked Angle Moth (Macaria signaria)6863 Gray Spruce Looper Moth (Caripeta divisata)7213 Small Phoenix Moth (Ecliptopera silaceata)7307 White-ribboned Carpet Moth (Mesoleuca ruficillata)7586.1 Wormwood Pug (Eupithecia absinthiata)8129 Isabella Tiger Moth (Pyrrharctia isabella)8304 Northern Pine Tussock Moth (Dasychira plagiata) (1)8304 Northern Pine Tussock Moth (Dasychira plagiata)8697 Colorful Zale Moth (Zale minerea)9226 Splendid Dagger Moth (Acronicta superans)10059 Brown-lined Sallow Moth (Sympistis badistriga)10290 Orthodes obscura10968.1 Praevia Dart Moth (Xestia praevia)11008 Two-spot Dart Moth (Eueretagrotis perattentus)11030.1 Abagrotis hermina