Monday, June 15, 2009

Visitors to the cabin

I never intended to enthrall moths this weekend. It was only after I turned off my bedroom lamp on Saturday evening that I realized I hadn’t turned off the porch light. But I was already sleepy and didn’t feel like waking up enough to get up and go turn it off. So I didn’t.

I was surprised when I got up on Sunday to discover the side of the cabin covered with a nice selection of moths. So I went and got the camera.

The moth in this morning’s photo is a silkworm moth, I believe, a cecropia species. I think it’s the Columbian silkworm, but don’t hold me to that one. The moth’s wings aren’t open and never were when I was around, so I can’t tell exactly how they would look while open. It’s a big moth, at least 4-5 inches across.

The other moths I saw were even more problematic in their identities. I was sure I’d be able to identify one from its unusual way of holding its wings but that hasn’t been the case. The other moths were all smaller and even more difficult—at least for me. One was completely white but most of the other 8-10 moths were various shades of beige and brown, usually in a camouflaged-type pattern that would make the moth invisible on the bark of a tree.

The most-reported way of keeping moths around until morning is to drug them with alcohol and something sweet, often reported as rum and sugar or molasses. But leaving the light on all night seems to work just as well, as long as you get up fairly early in the morning.

No comments: