Sunday, May 29, 2016


There are some 12,000 moth species found in the United States. Last night we set out to see some of them. And we invited some friends over to join us. In all there were eleven of us eating and drinking and chatting and having fun.

And looking at moths. We have interesting friends.

Some we could identify, like this Luna Moth, one of the Giant Silkworm Moths with a wingspan of up to 4.5 inches (alas, the big beetle it is resting on is plastic). We had at least four of these visit this night.

Luna Moth

And several I could not, like this one.

Or this one.

But this one I was able to ID.

One Spot Variant

These three seem like variations on a theme, which leads me to believe they are all Geometers, in the Family Geometridae. But I could not find nor recognize them in the field guide.

Delicate Cycnia

But with so many species there are many themes. And many sizes.

The Hebrew

From small moths like The Hebrew moth.

And even smaller moths like the one above, species unknown. But the above three all have a similar delta shape and way of resting on a surface.

Cecropia Moth

To the very large, like the Cecropia Moth, with its six inch wingspan. It was the hit of the night. And it rests with its wings open, as does the Luna Moth.

The "little" moth above it in the image is a Rosy Maple Moth.

Rosy Maple Moth

The Cecropia and Rosy Maple, along with the Luna, are in the Family Saturniidae, more variations on a theme. The family members tend to be on the larger side for moths. But note that the Rosy Maple rests with its wings closed, the Luna and Cecropia with wings spread.

Another family that tends to have larger moths are the Sphinx Moths, Family Sphinidae.

Azalea Sphinx

This Azalea Sphinx is a "small sphinx moth". And bigger than most of the moths we saw this night.

Robin's Carpenterworm

Robin's Carpenterworm is an "exceptionally large micromoth", as per the Peterson Field Guide to Moths. Most micromoths are less than ten millimeters in length. Whereas Robin's Carpenterworm can be up to forty-five mm long. This one wasn't quite that large. Still, it is a big moth.

Pale Beauty

The Pale Beauty is another Geometer. Note the way the wings are held and the lines across them. Not diagnostic, but definitely a family characteristic.

You would think this next moth would be easy to identify, just look at that nose!

Alas, I was not up to the task and for now it is 'species unknown'.

I was able to figure out the next two, the Pistachio Emerald with some help from Patty.

White-headed Grape Leaffolder 

Pistachio Emerald

These are just some of the moths we saw. It was a very good night. For both for mothing and for sitting outside with friends.


If you can identify any of these, or correct any mistaken IDs, 
leave a comment or send me an email. Thanks.

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