Birds & Blooms
The Beauty of Moths
SUPERB READER SNAPSHOTS HIGHLIGHT THE ALLURE OF THESE DAY-FLYING INSECTS, PROVING THAT THEY’RE NOT ALL ELUSIVE CREATURES OF THE NIGHT.
Amazing photos show how gorgeous these insects can be.
Adult male cecropias find mates from a mile or more away by the pheromones the females produce.
I saw this beautiful cecropia moth at my neighbor’s place.
It had recently emerged and wasn’t able to fly away right away, so it was easy for me to quickly snap a photo.
Brenda Doherty ARISS, ONTARIO
TAKING A SIP
The white-lined sphinx moth is often referred to as a hummingbird moth—they do get mistaken for hummingbirds! These moths love the zinnias that bloom from summer into fall in my garden.
Marina Schultz FRUITA, COLORADO
WORTH THE WAIT
While hiking the trails in Vermilion Provincial Park here in Vermilion, Alberta, I spotted this Virginia ctenucha moth. I saw it three days straight before it stayed still long enough for me to capture a photo with my iphone. Ruth Avramovic VERMILION, ALBERTA
The day-flying Virginia ctenucha moth may trick you into thinking it’s a wasp as it forages at flowers.
RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME
My son and my granddaughter Morgan visited me one spring. While playing in the yard, Morgan spotted a “big butterfly lying on the flowers.” It was actually a polyphemus moth that had just emerged from its cocoon and was drying itself. Talk about perfect timing! If it had been only a few minutes later, we might have missed this. Its coloring was so perfect. Wow!
Cherie Heitman BRANSON, MISSOURI
The eye spots on a polyphemus moth’s hindwings are transparent. These moths live in every state except Alaska and Hawaii.
While pulled over at a rest stop at the Pennsylvaniawest Virginia border, I was thrilled to see this imperial moth perfectly framed on a glass brick in the wall of the visitor center. What a surprising welcome to wild and wonderful West Virginia!
April Livingston MOBILE, ALABAMA
BUSY AS A BEE
I was attempting to capture a close-up of what I thought was a bumblebee on the banks of Polecat Creek in Randleman, North Carolina, but further inspection revealed that it was an eight-spotted forester moth. It was wonderful to catch a glimpse of this elusive moth sipping nectar from a beautiful dogwood, and to watch this pollinator doing nature’s work. Patricia Wells
Adult imperial moths follow a strict schedule. They emerge before sunrise and mate after midnight the next day.
THE MOST MEMORABLE MOTH
High in the mountains of Flagstaff, Arizona, groves of wildflowers and aspen trees bring the wild Gnophaela discreta (a moth without a common name) by the hundreds. Often you’ll see several at one time on a single flower.
Kerysa Ford PHOENIX, ARIZONA
After direct-sowing milkweed seeds one fall, I was pleased to see that they grew into a healthy patch the following summer. I spied this showy specimen—a milkweed tiger moth caterpillar—while looking for evidence of monarch activity, and I was happy to learn that milkweed hosts this species as well! I’m so glad I got this snapshot, because it was the only time I spotted this caterpillar. Elizabeth Griswold MADISON, CONNECTICUT
Another name for this creature is the milkweed tussock moth. Find it on milkweed plants in the eastern half of the U.S.