Friday 26 July 2013

A slower moth night

I retrieved the light trap at 10pm for an hour while an impressive storm moved around the area.  The rain appeared to reduce the moth numbers, as compared to the previous night, although, there were still 92 moths of 21 species.  There was 1 new Noctuid but I haven’t identified it yet.  I did manage to photograph a  Northwestern Phoenix Moth (Eulithis xylina).  This is a moth that never seems to settle for more than a few seconds but for once it stayed long enough for me to try some some focus stacking with 3 images.  I think the result is ok?  As it is a slow photograph day I though I would add a recent River Otter picture taken in Vancouver while I was on vacation.



Thursday 25 July 2013

A bumper moth night!

Last night the storms avoided us and I was able to leave the light trap out all night.  I was rewarded with at least 149 moths of 34 species.  14 of these were new moths for the year and 1 of the 14 was a first for the backyard.  The new record was an impressive looking moth called a Green-patched Looper Moth (Diachrysia balluca).  This is also called a Hologram moth which is understandable when you see the light reflecting off of the forewing. I feel that my photographs do not really do it justice but I did take one photograph with a flashlight pointing at it.  As you can see the colour changed from green to bronze when the light was directed at the moth.  In addition to this I found my first Underwing moth of the year in the bait trap.  So all in all it was a very good moth night!  The new species for the year were:

**Green-patched Looper Moth (Diachrysia balluca)**
Orange-barred Carpet Moth (Dysstroma hersiliata)
Northwestern Phoenix Moth (Eulithis xylina)
Scallop Shell (Rheumaptera undulata)
Briseis Underwing (Catocala briseis)
Double Lobed (Apamea ophiogramma)
Brown-streaked Rustic (Hypocoena rufostrigata)
Civil Rustic Moth (Platyperigea montana)
Bronzed Cutworm Moth (Nephelodes minians)
Euxoa tristicula (Euxoa tristicula)
Setaceous Hebrew Character (Xestia c-nigrum)
Smith's Dart (Xestia smithii)
Green Arches (Anaplectoides prasina)
Catocaline Dart (Cryptocala acadiensis)


Wednesday 24 July 2013

Three moths, a dragonfly and a butterfly of the Okanagan

I didn’t put the light trap out last night so there is not much to report on today.  There were 2 moths in the bait trap but nothing new for the year.  As it turned out the storms did not materialize but putting the light trap out seems to be a bit of lottery at the moment.  However, I am planning to put the light trap out tonight.  As I have no local moths to report on I thought I would show a few photographs that were taken in the Southern Okanagan a couple of weeks ago.  With regards to the moth that I have identified as Digrammia subminiata it could be a Decorated Granite Moth (Digrammia decorata) but I am leaning towards subminiata because of the overall ground colour and the slight orange tinges on the forewing.  That’s just a best guess though.  There were several Monarch butterflies hanging around and apparently, fighting over the Buddleia in the backyard of the B&B that we stayed in. The Eight-spotted Skimmer (Libellula forensis) was photographed along the Vaseux lake boardwalk.  Petrophila kearfottalis is quite an attractive looking Crambid moth with a wingspan of approximately  21mm.  The Isabella Tiger Moth was another new species for me.

Eight-spotted Skimmer (Libellula forensis) Petrophila kearfottalisIsabella Tiger Moth (Pyrrharctia isabella)  (2)Isabella Tiger Moth (Pyrrharctia isabella)  (1)

Monarch butterfly

Digrammia subminiata

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Blog entry for the 22nd July – Stormy Weather!

It hasn’t been a great start to the National Moth Week in SW Calgary.  Thunderstorms prevented me from putting the light trap out last night and even caused me to retrieve my bait trap!  The weather prospects for tonight do not look great either, although, I do plan to put the bait trap out.  There were 35 macro moths of 20 species in the light and bait traps on the 22nd July. 6 where new for the year and included 1 new backyard species, a Sordid Wainscot (Hypocoena inquinata).  This is a small moth with stubby wings.  Due to the lack of photographs I’ve included 3 pictures of moths that I took on my recent vacation to British Columbia.  Two of these illustrate different forms of  the Brother Moth (Raphia frater).  I think these were, until fairly recently, treated as separate species but DNA analysis supports the view that they are, in fact, a single species.  The other Okanagan Noctuid is the Zebra Caterpillar Moth (Melanchra picta).  I like the markings on this moth which to me looks quite exotic.  It is certainly a new species for me.  The following were the new backyard species for the 22nd.

Horisme incana (Horisme incana)
Satin Moth (Leucoma salicis)
Tufted Snout Moth (Phalaenostola metonalis)
Apamea alia (Apamea alia)
Sordid Wainscot (Hypocoena inquinata)
Broad-lined Sallow (Sympistis dinalda)

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Monday 22 July 2013

Blog entries for the 18th and 19th of July

The 18th of July saw 37 moths of 15 species in the light and bait traps.  There were 2 new species for the year, a Purple Arches (Polia purpurissata) and the return of the Glassy Cutworms.  Glassy Cutworm moths are normally one of my most common backyard moths.

The 19th of July was another good moth night with 54 moths of 22 species, including a couple of macro moths that I haven’t identified yet. There were 5 new species for the year:

Hooked Silver Y (Syngrapha alias)
Apamea scoparia (Apamea scoparia)
Aster Cutworm Moth (Trichordestra lilacina)
Red-spot Polia (Lacinipolia davena)
Master's Dart (Feltia herilis)


Friday 19 July 2013

A bumper moth day! (blog entry for the 17th July)

There were at least 85 macro moths of 27 species in the light trap on the 17th.  37 of these were “Thoughtful Apamea” moths (Apamea cogitata) which are, by far, my most common backyard moth at this time of the year.  There was one new backyard species, a Rannoch Looper (Speranza brunneata).  Unfortunately, I only managed a single photograph of this moth before it flew off. 

The new species for the year were:

Idia concisa near aemula - Currently an undescribed species
The Scribe (Lettered Habrosyne) (Habrosyne scripta)
Rannoch Looper (Speranza brunneata)
Single-lined Emerald (Nemoria unitaria)
Forest Tent Caterpillar Moth (Malacosoma disstria)
Virgin Tiger (Grammia virgo)
Dark-spotted Palthis (Palthis angulalis)
Abstrusa Looper (Syngrapha abstrusa)
Lined Quaker (Apamea inficita)
Neoligia subjuncta (Neoligia subjuncta)
Polia Moth (Polia piniae)
Hitched Arches (Melanchra adjuncta)
Leucania commoides (Leucania commoides)
Anhimella contrahens (Anhimella contrahens)
Morrison's Sooty Dart (Pseudohermonassa tenuicula)
Dingy Cutworm (Feltia jaculifera)




The July rush (blog entry for the 16th July)

Well, I’m home again after a nice (excluding the mosquitoes.  What do they feed on when there isn't a backyard mother around!) 9 day vacation in the Okanagan and Vancouver.  I did photograph a few BC moths but have returned to a peak mothing time of the year.  It’s a difficult period to keep up with the moths at the best of times but I normally get eased into itConfused smile.  I will be doing a separate blog entry for the BC moths after I get up to date with the backyard moths.

I have had the trap out for a few days and I am now playing catch up with all of the new species for the year.  On the 16th there were 32 macro moths of 13 species with 9 new species for the year.  I understand that the only way to confidently tell a Crocus Geometer from a False Crocus Geometer Moth (Xanthotype urticaria) is by dissection so my Crocus Geometer ID is just a guess. It’s always nice to get a Tiger moth. The new species were:

Crocus Geometer (Xanthotype sospeta)
Delphinium Leaftier (Polychrysia esmeralda)
White-lined Quaker (Apamea niveivenosa)
Smoked Sallow (Enargia infumata)
Garden Cutworm Moth (Fishia discors)
Mountain Hooded Owlet Moth (Cucullia montanae)
Olive Arches (Lacinipolia olivacea)
Many-lined Wainscot (Leucania multilinea)
Virgin Tiger (Grammia virgo)


Friday 5 July 2013

On Vacation

Just a quick note to say that I will be away in British Columbia for 10 days so there probably won’t be any blog updates for a couple of weeks .  It’s primarily a birding vacation but hopefully I will have one or two BC moths to report on when I get back.

Incidentally, with the overnight storms etc., the last few days have been a little quiet, although, I did get one new backyard moth species.  More on this later.

All the best and good mothing,


Tuesday 2 July 2013

Two of my favourite moths

The moth numbers continue to increase with 31 macro moths of 20 species last night.  There were 7 new backyard moths for the year as follows:

Clandestine Dart (Spaelotis clandestina)
Split-lined Angle Moth (Speranza bitactata
Thoughtful Apamea (Apamea cogitata)
Anarta farnhami
Lesser Wainscot (Mythimna oxygala)
American Idia (Idia americalis)
Putnam's Looper Moth (Plusia putnami)

I have to say that Anarta farnhami and Putnam's Looper Moth (Plusia putnami) are two of my favourite noctuids.  I find the intricate patterns and subtle colours of Anarta farnhami quite amazing.


Monday 1 July 2013

The highest moth numbers so far…

I managed to pick 19 macro moths of 16 species out of the light trap this morning.  Mainly because of the high early morning temperatures a few moths flew out as soon as I lifted the lid and some others escaped from my egg boxes as I examined them.  Still, I did identify 5 new species for the year which included 2 new species for the backyard, a “Variable Tussock Moth” (Dasychira vagans) which, unfortunately, was a little worn and “The Vestal” (Cabera variolaria). The other new species for the year were:

The Canary Thorn (Neoterpes trianguliferata)
Neighbourly Arches (Lacinipolia vicina)
Trichordestra dodii