evening visitors

At this time of the year, I feel myself slipping behind when it comes to posting about the many insects encountered here at the farm. My efforts to ID spiders, moths, and other creatures also suffer as I keep adding photos at the rate of a few dozen per day. One consequence is that I don’t spend a great deal of time photographing moths in the evening – in part because I’m usually fading by then, but also becuase I figure that if I can’t keep up with what I’m doing in daylight, why add to the confusion!

However, once in awhile, I will spend a few minutes photographing the moths that are attracted to our windows or the front porch light when it’s switched on briefly in the evening. The moths in todays posts were photographed on the evening of June 17th (yes, this is almost old news now). The first and second photos are of a Blind Sphinx Moth (Paonias excaecatus) that I saw walking around on one of the screens in our bedroom windows. I unfastened the screen and reached out to let the moth climb onto my hand. I then brought it in to photograph, before releasing it on the front porch. When I did so, two more of the same species flew to the porch lamp while I shot a few more photos of this and some other moths. This “Blinded” part of this moth’s common name has to do with the eyespot seen on the hind wing (see below). A number of other Sphinx moths have such “eyes”, but they usually have a dark spot at the center (like the pupil of an eye) as in this example. Here’s more interesting information about the natural history of this species from Bill Oehlke’s terrific website.

The bottom photo is of a Marbled-green Leuconycta (Leuconycta lepidula) – one of the more eye-catching of the moths seen the same evening. If you’re interested in moths, you might like to check out some of the others that I’ve photographed here at the farm. This is actually only part of my “collection”. As mentioned, I’m so swamped with photos from several years of insect photography, that I know I’ll never get everything up online. However, I’ll keep chipping away at it next winter when I’m stuck indoors once more.

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6 Responses to “evening visitors”

  1. Larry Ayers Says:

    More new moth species to look for! Thanks for posting these photos, Bev!

  2. jessie Says:

    The Leuconycta is making me hungry for mint chocolate chip ice cream for some strange reason. Thats the prettiest moth Ive ever seen, and Ive seen a LOT of moths.

  3. Carolyn Hoffman Says:

    I love sphinx moths! I had one fluttering against my cabin window two nights ago but I can’t ID them from the underside, and that’s all of this one that I could see. Thanks for the great photos!

    Carolyn H.

  4. robin andrea Says:

    I think we’re going to have to turn our porch light on just to see who shows up! If they are even half as beautiful as these, and that is quite a spectacular Marbled-green Leuconycta, we’ll be blown away. What unbelievable colors on these moths, really a feast for the eyes.

  5. Cathy Says:

    Wondrous. The creature just crawled onto your hand. I’m wondering what magic you’re using to effect that response. Hmmm. And if these moths are nocturnal – why the allure of the porch light? Guess I need to start googling ;0)

  6. John Says:

    Beautiful shots! I am astonished at the clarity of the photos. If only my eyes would see so clearly! Thanks, Bev!