Raspberry Crown Borer

Once again, the BugLady fell for an insect’s disguise. It sure looked like a sluggish yellowjacket sitting on a raspberry leaf, and it wasn’t until she took a picture of it that she noticed all of its hairs/scales. The Raspberry crown borer/Blackberry clearwing borer is a moth in the Clear-winged moth family Sesiidae.

Ailanthus Webworm Moth

Ailanthis Webworm Moth

It’s always a treat to find one of these jewel-like insects nectaring, usually on goldenrod. They are day-flying moths, though their tendency to sit with wings wrapped around their bodies makes them look like beetles, and their bright colors make them wasp-like in flight. Ailanthus webworm moths (Atteva aurea) (“aurea” means “golden”) are in the family Attevidae, the tropical ermine moths. And tropical they are, except for the AWM (Ailanthus webworm moth, not “angry white men”), which has shed some of its southern proclivities.

It’s National Moth Week (soon)

Here (the BugLady looked up the collective noun for moths) is a whisper of moths. Mostly porch moths; mostly under-biographized; mostly, to borrow a term from birders, “LBJs” – Little Brown Jobs. Subjects include White Spring Moths, Bruce Spanworms, and Bronzy Macrochilos.

Luna Moth

The BugLady’s favorite insect is the Tiger Swallowtail (Mom likes me best), but in the crowded field for second place, the Luna Moth is pretty close to the top. Luna moths (Actias luna) are in the Giant Silkworm/Royal Moth family Saturnidae (of previous BOTW fame), whose family members have ringed eyespots reminiscent of Saturn.

Stories, not Atoms

The poet Muriel Rukeyser once wrote, “The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.” The BugLady sees lots of tableaux unfolding as she ambles across the landscape. Because she was taught, at an impressionable age, by a professor who said “Don’t just tell them what it is, tell them ‘what about it,’” she tries to read the stories and understand the “what-about-its”

LeConte’s Haploa

The BugLady admits that she is ambivalent about moths. So many of them are small and gray/tan and the BugLady, with apologies, hasn’t developed the patience to hunker down and learn them. On the other hand, there are striking moths like the Haploas. The genus name Haploa used to be Callimorpha, which means “beautiful form.” The Haploas are sometimes called Crusader moths, because of their shield-like wing shape and markings.

Maple Spanworm 2

Another week, another Maple Spanworm. This one, the Large Maple Spanworm (Prochoerodes lineola) is also in the family Geometridae. The BugLady didn’t have to play her usual game of Identification Roulette because, of the seven New World species in this primarily tropical genus, this is the only one that occurs in eastern North America.

Maple Spanworm

Isn’t this moth exquisite! It’s one of several moths in the family Geometridae that go by the same name – Maple Spanworm (more about that in a future episode). And it’s one of several “new bugs” that the BugLady saw for the first time this year.

Bugs in the News – The Videos

In past years, the BugLady has taken off during the month of May or June to refresh her sadly depleted “BOTW Future” file with new images of emerging insects, and she plans to do that. BUT – she’s also in the process of moving out of a house that she’s lived in for 40 years (rule of thumb – if you haven’t seen it/thought about it/used it for 10 years or so, you probably don’t need it). St. Vinnies’ is thrilled. The BugLady is thrilled that she’ll go forward with about 1/3 of her present worldly possessions.

Bugs without Bios XII

The BugLady is feeling a little cranky. It’s snowing as she’s writing this – 3” to 5” are expected, and the temperatures predicted for the next week mean that the snow’s not going anywhere soon, so the newly-returned robins, cranes and killdeer will be very unhappy – and she’s leading her first woodcock and frog walk in three weeks. To take our minds off of the snow, here are a few insects about which the information is sparse, though they are undoubtedly worthy.