The BugLady takes lots of pictures as she moseys around—flowers, landscapes, a surprising number of people, and, of course, all manner of bugs. Bug pictures may stall in the BugLady’s X–Files, awaiting identification—some for a long time. Here is a selection from the X–Files. In some cases the BugLady knows part of the story; in others, even less.
The world is full of well-nigh inscrutable moths, but this trio—the Yellow-collared Scape Moth, the Eyed Paectes Moth, and the Pink-barred Lithacodia Moth—stand out in a crowd. They are distinctive moths, from different moth families, that have one thing in common—their taxonomy is shifting.
The Bad Wing, Green Leuconycta, and Green-patched Looper are three admirable moths that are outfitted in emerald.
The BugLady has been stalking invertebrates that hang out on the east wall of the Field Station lab. The wall is painted cinderblock that warms up in the morning and probably keeps some heat as it gets shaded in the afternoon. Grass grows right up to the edge of the building. The BugLady hypothesizes that bugs can enjoy the residual warmth without getting fried by the sun, because she sees some small critters on the north wall but very few on the bright south wall. She found some familiar faces and some new ones—plant-eaters and an array of carnivores that come to collect the herbivores.
White-lined Sphinx Moths can be found from mid-spring until early fall in open areas (parks, gardens, grasslands, scrublands and deserts) throughout North America, from Canada to Central America and the West Indies (they’re also found in Europe). They gather nectar on a variety of “flat” flowers like apple but is able to reach deep into tubular flowers like petunias, columbine, and honeysuckle.
As veteran BugFans will recall, there are a multitude of bugs out there that are pretty cute but that simply don’t have much information attached to them. In fact, there are around 100,000 species of insects in North America, and a lot of them don’t even have a common name.
Just when the BugLady thought that her Front-Porch-Bugs had called it quits (except for the crickets and katydids), she went out one night with the dog and found these two newcomers, the Goldenrod Hooded Owlet and Wolf’s Otiocerus, sitting inches from each other under the porch light.
The BugLady puts out oranges for the birds—orioles, house finches, catbirds, and several species of woodpeckers eat the pulp. The BugLady guesses that ants, flies and German yellowjackets and raccoons would be the first and most numerous guests at the table, but that some interesting stuff would come to the night-time table.
The two moths that are featured today, the Walnut Sphinx and the Spotted Thyris, are pretty different from each other—one large, one small; a day flyer and a night-flyer; one from a very large family and one practically an only child; one well-biographied and the other barely known.
The Grapevine Epimenis certainly looks like a small butterfly (wingspread about an inch), and it is a daytime flyer in woodlands and edges in the eastern half of the U.S. and into Ontario. Adults nectar on the flowers of a few early-blooming fruit trees like cherries and plums and on sumac, and they like redbud. Grape Leaf Folders get their name from the habit of their caterpillars of folding grape (and Virginia creeper, redbud, and some evening primrose) leaves and webbing them shut. They can become pests in vineyards—high infestations damage leaves, which may lower production, damage fruits, and affect the next crop.