Northern Pine Sphinx

Last Friday night, I noticed a large moth outside one of the windows of our house (click on the above photo for a much larger view). In such cases, I generally invite the moth in for a brief visit and portrait photo session before releasing it back outdoors. My usual modus operandi is to turn off the lights in the room where I see the moth, turn on the bathroom light, and then remove the screen from the window for a few seconds to allow the moth to enter. The screens are all easy to pop out as we have tall casements in almost every window of the house. Once in the dark room, the moth will usually fly directly to the bathroom. I can then close the door, shoot some photos, and release the moth out the bathroom window without any danger of it flying off into the house and perhaps getting lost somewhere. Alternatively, if it’s a quiet moth, I will reach out and offer my hand for it to climb upon. Moths will often move to the warmth of a hand when it is offered.

The above Northern Pine Sphinx moth (Lapara bombycoides) flew in through the window as soon as the screen was removed. It made a bee-line to the bathroom for a photo session, and was back outdoors in just a minute or two. I keep some matte cardstock to use for a backing under moths when I’m shooting photos indoors, so that’s what it’s sitting upon. (Just a few bits of info for the photographers among you).

Above and below are photos of the caterpillar phase of this moth. I shot these photos in a plantation stand of Red Pine at the G. Howard Ferguson Forestry Centre, on August 27, 2005. It’s quite an attractive caterpillar – but then, the same can be said about most caterpillars. The face is particularly interesting. If you would like to know a bit more about this species, be sure to visit Bill Oehlke’s Lapara bombycoides page. To see some of the other moths I’ve photographed, check out my online moth gallery on Pbase.

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5 Responses to “Northern Pine Sphinx”

  1. robin andrea Says:

    I use that bathroom light trick when there’s something buzzing around our bedroom at night. It’s an easy way to entice a giant annoying fly away from us and into a room where I can close the door. I never thought to photograph our little houseguests, but that’s probably because it’s usually the middle of the night. In the morning, I catch whatever I have captured, and put it out. I like the idea of using the light to draw something in and photograph it. The matte cardstock is a great idea. Excellent.

  2. threecollie Says:

    That is an amazing caterpillar. I would certainly remember it if I saw it.

  3. bev Says:

    robin – When possible, I like to photograph insects on some natural object, but the card stock isn’t a bad substitute. I was thinking that a chunk of natural slate might work well too. Must give that a try.

    threecollie – You’d definitely remember it as it is not only colorful, but also reasonably large. However, I’ll bet it is very hard to find among pine needles. Luckily, I encountered this one while it was on the bark of the tree.

  4. Cindy Says:

    i miss mothing SO much..eventually i’ll get out w/them again.. untl then i have you to take me on wonderful adventures,, thank you dear 1 :)

  5. Larry Ayers Says:

    Loved your bathroom moth-attracting strategy — I’ll try that sometime!