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......♥