of snakes and moths   6 comments

Posted at 7:10 am in moths,reptiles

Maritime Garter Snake – Thamnophis sirtalis pallidulus

In between house repairs, playing music, cooking and other activities, work continues on the painted floors project. Yesterday, while picking basil and oregano for a homemade pizza that I baked inside the kettle barbecue over a fire made with wild cherry prunings and chunk charcoal, I noticed a snake making its way through the garden. It was a large, wonderfully marked Maritime Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis pallidulus). I took several photos which I will use as reference images when I paint a Maritime Garter Snake on the living room floor.

Now that the weather has finally warmed up (we had an unseasonably cool, wet start to summer), I’ve been turning on the moth lights at night. Over the past few nights there has been a good assortment of small moths, but only a few of the larger species – a Luna one evening, and the odd Sphinx.

Azalea Sphinx – Darapsa choerilus

Last night may have been the start of a new trend. In addition to many small moths, there was an Azalea Sphinx (Darapsa choerilus) and *four* Waved Sphinx (Ceratomia undulosa). Perhaps there will be plenty of moths coming to the light by National Moth Week (July 20-28, 2013). If you haven’t yet registered, there is still time!

Waved Sphinx – Ceratomia undulosa

Written by bev wigney on July 7th, 2013

6 Responses to 'of snakes and moths'

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  1. Beautiful snake and I liked the video. I always enjoy your posts about the moths and your naturalist life.

    Rain Trueax

    7 Jul 13 at 11:10 am

  2. Hi Bev

    That is a beautifully marked snake. It is interesting how the garter snake marking change across the country.



    8 Jul 13 at 9:02 am

  3. Very nice moth shots.

    I also like the snake. It’s really too bad that so many people are so afraid of snakes. The default reaction around here is to kill any snake that appears. Many people will go out of their way to run over a snake. I’m not sure what I would do if I found a rattlesnake around the house. Maybe chase it into the woods. Given where we live, I’m pretty sure there are rattlers around.

    Mark P

    11 Jul 13 at 7:58 am

  4. You know, I think I might have seen a Darapsa choerilus when I was coming back from my mailbox in the past week. I stopped to look at a moth and knew you would know what kind of moth it was, and you do!

    It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a garter snake. Used to see them all the time when I had a house with a yard.


    11 Jul 13 at 9:23 pm

  5. Rain – Thanks! I am hoping to get back to posting more of my natural history observations this year.

    Guy – Yes, very interesting how the markings – especially the Maritime brown checkerboard type markings – are related to region. Every summer when Don and I visited Nova Scotia, we would always hope to see a Maritime garter snake and were rarely disappointed!

    Mark – I’m always surprised by the fear and hatred that some people have toward snakes. It seems quite irrational up here in the northeast where there are almost no venomous snakes and the few that are live within tiny ranges.

    am – I just checked the range map for Darapsa choerilus, but see that it doesn’t usually occur in the west. However, there are a couple of other very similar moths in the same genus – Darapsa myron and Darapsa versicolor. I’m guessing in may have been a Darapsa myron!

    bev wigney

    12 Jul 13 at 5:37 am

  6. Thank you! I wish I had my camera with me that day.


    12 Jul 13 at 1:20 pm

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