Saturday, December 31, 2016

Moth Fest 2016

Tolype velleda 10-06-16

They outdid themselves this year. I cannot emphasize how amazing they were this year. So many I have never seen before and so many I never thought I would lay eyes on in the city (by a river but still). I'm pooped so I'll make this quick and post more properly later:

Tolype velleda 10-06-16

This lovely was found by my place down by the river smack dab on the sidewalk where I proceeded to camwhore like no tomorrow. I then relocated it to a safer place afterwards. I have never seen them in person before.....ever. And I never expected to......much less in the city. Amazing. I hope to see many many more.

They feel like velvet. I suspect all Lasiocampids do.

Malacosoma americana 06-15-16

First time seeing the adults. And once again smack dab in the city proper. Across the street from my house underneath the closing gate of a local furniture store. I had a ball. Earlier in the season I had found a cocoon of one of these lovelies down by the river by my place. So I have seen the caterpillars (upstate or Massachusetts can't remember) the cocoons and now the adults. ♥

Helicoverpa zea 10-05-16

Cutest. Face. Ever.

Really should just make a separate post for all of this. There's too many. XD

Anticarsia gemmatalis 10-20-16

First ever. Period

Sunira bicolorago 10-20-16

About 2-3 of these I think. Blanking cause I'm tired. XD First for me.

Sunira bicolorago 10-20-16 

What. A Cutie. Pie.

Ok.......pooped will write proper post later with more pic spam and details. Have fun and stay safe. Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 31, 2015

Monarchs 2015

Tagged female (first ever!) observed 10-12-15 Tag # TNP-507

I have only one thing to say: THEY'RE BAAAAAAACK!!

Between July 16th and October 15th there were 8 monarchs in total passing through here (and tons more elsewhere) as apposed to last year's 0 (can't recall if there were any at all unfortunately). Since I'm in the city (NYC) I guess we don't get as many (although the diversity in general by my place and the neighborhood is AMAZING) flying through as you would in more open rural places (upstate, highways, Central Park (fields, meadows, woods, no light pollution, SATURNIIDS) etc). But it nevertheless pleased me to no end because seeing them like that meant that they were bouncing back.

And sure enough that's exactly the case as millions (3-4 times the amount in previous years) of monarchs have arrived in Mexico. I wonder if my tagged lovely made it there alright. I sure hope she did. God bless them all. Pic spam:

Female 10-10-15

The first two weeks of October were blessed with observations of these angels. I literally stood there for God knows how long camwhoring with such perfection. Then stood there for another half hour afterwards just watching them and playing with them (I had them walking on my fingertips but not long enough for pics) and I need to stress something:

Watching these beautiful creatures go about their business.......flitting from flower to flower gliding in circles around the buddleias they were taking nectar from has got to be the most soothing thing ever to ones psyche. I cannot find the proper words to express how peaceful and utterly happy they have left me each and every time.

Female 10-10-15

It's sacred. Monarchs have such breathtaking flight patterns......such power and grace.......I just can't......I honestly feel blessed to have witnessed such perfection. You may feel I'm exaggerating (I've been told I do so in matters such as these) but seriously go and watch them. Go watch them and just sit/stand there for a few minutes (or hours in my preference because I can't get enough) and just forget everything. Don't think about a single thing and just marvel at how something so delicate can be so utterly strong.

The beauty in it.......I really don't have the words. Just go watch them next season. Insanely therapeutic and if I couldn't love them's never ending.

I hope they all made it to Mexico okay. I hope to see many many many more. God bless Danaus plexippus. I hope you all have a wonderful year to come. Blessings to all!

Happy New Year

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun and find your shoulder to light on
To bring you luck, happiness, and riches today, tomorrow, and beyond.......



Saturday, July 25, 2015

NMW 2015: Halysidota harrisii

Halysidota harrisii 05-29-15 1st of the season

Happy National Moth Week!! ɛïɜ

Long long time no see I know. I have been without internet access for a few annoying months so I couldn't really do much as far as blogging but I finally got it back a few days ago and have been pondering on what to write........

So I decided to start with one of my favorites. Halysidota harrisii, which I've been trying to keep track of ever since they started declining a few years back and have thankfully started returning within the past few years. This season I have so far seen 4......2 adults and 2 larvae.

I do hope to see more. I think I have their life cycle figured out though. I think.......The adults I've seen emerge in Spring (earliest yet was May 29th) to mate and lay eggs etc. (on Platanus x acerfolia here and P. occidentalis elsewhere though I haven't observed this anywhere for occidentalis).

The eggs hatch and the larvae go through their metamorphosis overwintering as pupae and the adults emerging the following Spring to repeat the blessed process all over again. What I'm still not clear on is the details of their life cycle.

1. How many instars do they have? (I presume 5 but for all I know there could be 6)
2. Defenses? (Adults & larvae are brightly colored so I'm sure they're protected somehow. Although Platanus x. acerfolia and P. occidentalis afaik don't have any toxic chemicals for the larvae to sequester.)
3. Hybrids? Do harrisii and tesselaris hybridize?
4. Where do they pupate? (*Note to self: Check remaining Sycamore leaves early/mid fall for possible cocoons)

And I also did a JLR (Journal of Lepidopteran Research) crawl and nothing........nothing extensive written on them. H. harrisii is briefly mentioned if I can call it brief. H. tesselaris is mentioned quite a few times but nothing to note on the life history or biology or anything on either of these two species.

I'm specifically interested in harrisii since these actually occur here (apparently adults of harrisii and tesselaris are impossible to distinguish from each other without genital dissection. Had NMW BAMONA submission rejected cause of this) and the only way I know this is from the larvae. I have not seen tesselaris larvae here. Only harrisii. H. tesselaris I've only seen once upstate. Caterpillar was crawling across a picnic bench. I was about 6....♥

Any way........I've ranted enough. Pic spam!!

Spotted on my terrace at 7:40ish in the morning. Aaaah perfection!!

Was mostly very tame and didn't mind being handled. Which makes me wonder about them having chemical defenses as both adults and larvae. The adults can always sequester from PA harboring plants but the larvae whose host I haven't heard of containing any sort of toxic chemicals.......??? *Stumped*

Hoping someday these questions can be answered.......


Pics are of all the same individual.


And some videos!!

And the adult in the pics:

If any of these come up choppy.....I blame youtube. Taken with my phone and they come up fine there. Anyway enjoy nonetheless.

Happy National Moth Week!


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Moth List 2014

Catocala palaeogamma 08-08-14

So this year Entomologically (and personally) has been amazing and there have been so so many lovelies this year and their diversity has astounded and amazed me to no end. I'm currently at the library blogging this so I'm pressed for time so I can't ramble. *^^* On with the photos and lists:

In no particular order:

Heliothis phloxiphaga
Morrisonia confusa (2)
Paectes sp.
Mythimna unipuncta
*Halysidota harrisii (6 1 adult 5 larvae)
Microcrambus elegans
Immyrla nigrovitella
Hofmannophila pseudospretella
Acleris semipurpurana
Choristoneura rosaceana
Clepsis peritana

Halysidota harrisii 06-15-14

Evergestis pallidata
Pleuroprucha insulsaria (TONS of these this year)
Pyralis farinalis
Chalcoela iphitalis
Catocala palaeogamma (6-7)
Catocala innubens f. scintillans
Catocala micronympha
Promolactis suzukiella
Autographa gamma/precationis
Sciota uvinella
Eupithecia miserulata

Heliothis phloxiphaga 05-08-14

Cenopsis pettitana
Idia americalis
Nematocera resistaria 
Dichomeris ligulella
Atteva aurea
Numerous unidentified micros.......>__<
*ANTHERAEA POLYPHEMUS!! (Breading attempts from Pennsylvania)

Pieris rapae chrysalis!!

Had to add this as it's the first one that I found.....♥ Along with one other unidentified moth pupa rolled up in a leaf (Tortricidae? Pyraloidea?)

I wound up with 8 of these babies. 5 males 3 females. Sadly none of them mated. Will hopefully try again next year. Have to wrap up now. I hope you all have a wonderful New Year and stay safe!! Will post more photos later.



Saturday, July 26, 2014

NMW: Halysidota harrisii (Observations, Frustrations, Ponderings & Pic Spam)

Halysidota harrisii (Adult: Female I think) 06-15-14

Finally........I get to properly write about these. I say finally because they've been in some weird decline in the past few years here and I do not know why. They used to be almost as common as Pieris rapae here with the larvae in all stages and color variants (white~gray~yellow~yellow brown) adorning the fences outside my house & beyond. They were an integral part of my childhood and I have very fond memories of the caterpillars (my mother running screaming down the walkway when one almost got on her had I not warned her. XD Taking them to school etc) and the adults perched on the buildings and underneath awnings. Finding them flitting through the air ethereal and fairy like with their yellow-ish almost white transparency.and chasing after them reveling in their beauty as they walked around on my hand before flying off again.

Until they all but disappeared.

And I don't know why. From 2007 onward I literally watched as their numbers dropped drastically for reasons unknown, until I literally didn't see even one (2012?) and eventually they started trickling back in. But I still don't see them as often as I'd like but at least it seems they're trying to make a comeback. I'm rooting for them. Observations this year as follows:

06-15-14 1 Adult
06-27-14 1 larva (2nd~3rd instar?) White
07-20-14 1 larva (3rd~4th instar?) White/Off white/gray
07-26-14 1 larva (5th~6th instar?)  Golden Yellow

So far that makes 4 after today. And I have questions.

1. Exactly how many instars does this species have?
2. Is there anything on their biology/life histories?

The second one is bugging me. I went searching to see if I could find anything and the most I could find is a detailed report on a 40 something year old guy who had an allergic reaction (see here) after handling one. I never had any problems with them. While continuing my search for info I decided to read Wikipedia's entry on them and it pissed me off........badly.

First off they basically fail to mention that the supposed irritant properties of the setae (hairs) of the caterpillars induce reactions only in certain people. What they're basically telling you is not to handle them at all and they don't bother to back their supposed info either. No references links as to what the article is based on.

I will repeat myself. I have handled probably hundreds of them and I never had a problem with them.


From today 07-26-14

As I said before I found this lovely angel in my lobby on the floor and proceeded to "rescue" it, take it upstairs and get pics & release it. I was tempted to keep it to see if it would spin a cocoon but decided to release it in the end simply due to the fact that there's practically nothing on them so I wouldn't know how to properly rear them to adulthood. I did try last year but sadly wasn't successful.

I want to wait till I have more information. Like aside from host (Sycamores Platanus spp. Wiki mentions them feeding on Platanus occidentalis we have Platanus x acerfolia here only which they obviously have no problems with) where do they pupate? Do they spin cocoons? If they do where do they spin them? Between leaves? On twigs or sides of trees/buildings/other flat surfaces? Do they burrow underground to pupate?

I don't know this so I obviously decided to wait & obtain more info. Problem is there isn't any!! I haven't been able to find anything on their life cycles or biology and it's frustrating. I did however observe a possible defensive behavior in this individual. When startled it would "flinch", retract it's head & clamp down on whatever surface it was on (in this case a paper towel):

Which prompts even more questions:

1. What are their defences (besides this apparently) against predators?
2. They're brightly colored surely aside from a mouth full of apparently irritant setae they're distasteful??

Dear Lord someone needs to research these already!!

From the release

And because I simply can't help myself, some videos too:

Enjoy!! I've spammed you enough. I hope though that I can properly find out about these. Surely there has to be more info somewhere.

Until next time! Happy National Moth Week!!


Friday, February 07, 2014

NHM Butterfly Exhibit Visit #11

Actias luna...........♥ Last photo of the day since cam battery had completely died right after taking this shot of this magnificent angel. 

11th visit after not being able to visit for 4 months because life was crazy. XD I dare say this one was worth the wait. So many lovelies I haven't had the pleasure of seeing before and so many I haven't seen enough of (*cough* Actias luna *cough*). I do however have a bone to pick with them........maybe not them but the Department of Agriculture definitely.

See as I walked in I looked around for the Saturniids as I always do and since I didn't obviously spot any right away I asked the staff if they had any moths to which the guy I asked pointed me over to this lovely angel:

Seeing this prompted me to do 2 things:

1. Take shit loads of photos
2. Ask why in the world is she (it's a female) in a whatchamacallit (I have no idea what you call these "containers" other then I have a few and plan to get more and they can be used for butterflies/moths and laundry :P)?

So when I asked why she was in this cage I was told because they aren't allowed to breed the moths and it's also due to worries/concerns of "cross contamination with foreign species". This is what the Department of Agriculture (DoA for short from here on out) is worried about. Also apparently due to last years Saturniid orgy fest (they had a bunch of Attacus atlas and Rothschildia lebeau mating & laying eggs all over the place) they implemented this ridiculous rule.

They're also doing it down in Florida too from what I was told. All female moths have to be "quarantined" so they don't lay eggs everywhere and risk "contaminating species". And parasites (which I would think the farms these come from would check for so that's BS). The entire thing is BS due to the fact:

1. The moths aren't allowed to mate but the butterflies are. (Observed P. memnon and Heliconius mating/courting)

1a. When I pointed out the P. memon mating the staff said "Oh yeah they've been going at it for hours" XD -_-

2. The DoA has nothing to worry about because any (tropical) moths wouldn't survive the winters here (except A. luna H. cecropia C. promethea & A. polyphemus to name a few because they're native here and they overwinter as cocoons).

2a. Any parasites of tropical Saturniids would not survive our winters they would freeze to death point blank.

*Sigh* it's ridiculous. Also may I point out that the luna in the first photo is a female and it's out in the open. Egads! *sarcasm*  Anyway enjoy the pics:

She had laid eggs in the corner. Incredible tiny things they were. 

Ascia monuste threesome?!!

Papilio nireus!! First time seeing one.......♥

New Additions: 

1. Papilio nireus
2. Pachliopta aristolochiae
3. Papilio polytes f. romulus (males) *previous visit had females
4. Unidentified Charaxes sp.?
5. Heliconius hybrids
6. Unidentified yellow Pierid (Eurema nicippe??)

Heliconius pachinus I LOVE how this came out. ♥

Ornithoptera priamus euphorion (?) This was an honor to hold.

Ok I'll spam you more later. :P Until next time......♥


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Out With a Bang

Vespula maculifrons Queen which may or may not have been still kicking 12-28-13

They were amazing.......last and latest bug hunt of the year. The latest they were out was in November 2011......felt like Spring that day. Today it felt like Spring yet again and I was greatly awarded with all sorts of birds and assorted creepy crawlies.......and a surprise from my lepidopteran friends.

I had originally gone to the park to look for cocoons of various moths.....and maybe butterfly chrysalids or overwintering Polygonia spp. or Nymphalis antiopa and while I didn't find any of those.........I DID find something of a mystery lodged in one of the normally bug infested logs.

Mystery moth pupae 12-28-13

I wonder what exactly made many many possibilities.

It was discussed via facebook & twitter and the possibilities are endless.....

Woodboring Erebidae
Notodontidae (Cerura and Furcula spp. specifically)
Cossidae (Prionoxystus robiniae)

To name a few of what it could be........Notodontids of the genera Cerura & Furcula I haven't seen here in any shape or form nor have I seen Prionoxystus robiniae or any of the other 3 Eastern N. American Cossidae. The pupa wasn't "large" by any means......but it wasn't "small" either. Medium? And skinny....but not too skinny.

Providing the weather is nice again after the snow we're supposed to get in a few days. I'll go back and see if it's still there and try and get better pics and maybe try and get it out. I tried but it seemed like it was stuck in there pretty tightly.

Silken pads most likely......and the added protection of a deep enough notch in a log. ^^* Another question though is when did it emerge? Last time I was there (Oct 15th) I didn't see it there but then again I wasn't looking for cocoons or pupae/chrysalids then since the adults of various lepidopterans were out pollinating the last of the flowers.

My only guess it that it was over looked. It wouldn't make sense for it to have crawled in there say late/early October pupated and then emerged on an abnormally warm Autumn/winter day only to eventually freeze to death. Don't have the climate for them to do that "successfully".

But I wouldn't rule anything out at this point. But the possibility of it being overlooked is more likely. Hope to find more this year......♥

Some kind of ground beetle?

No clue!! Was a shock to find this and many others zipping about. Midges/craneflies (these were in some sort of swarm) another beetle in flight, slugs, milipedes, centipedes.......woodlice. Oh it was wonderful not to mention the birds.

Juncos!! Some friends had confirmed these are juncos and I had also learned that there might be a junco species complex (Idk if that would be the right term here but Idk that much about birds to begin with) since the "experts had lumped them all together" so to speak according to said friends.

Aren't they just darling little things? Here's another:

I have many more but I'll post those in another post as once again I've probably ranted enough about my precious lovely little friends.....but I can't help it. *^^*

Until next time.