hot night around the old outhouse

After setting up camp and heating up our dinner over the campfire, it was time for some fun of the entomological kind. We paid a visit to the nearby outhouse building to check out the insect activity. Moths were the main event, although we also found the largest cranefly I’ve probably seen — well, actually, I found a similarly large one in a motel in Mitchell, Oregon last year, but this one was in the same league. Today, I’ll try to get better photos of it to post sometime soon. Also seen were many great spiders. I’ll work on getting some good photos of them today.

I don’t have IDs for these moths, but thought that others might enjoy seeing a small representation of what one can find around the lights of outbuildings in parks at this time of the year in northern California. The above moth is familiar to me — I found one like it in the outhouse at Standish-Hickey State Park in early October 2006.

It’s a large moth with yellowish wings and bright salmon pink markings on the abdomen. The above photo gives a decent view of the body markings. If you happen to know the species, please do post a note in the comments.

The gray moth in the above and below photos were also fairly impressive in size and markings. I just found one of each of these.

The yellow moth in the photo below seemed to be the most common species. I found several of them inside and outside the building.

Tags: ,

7 Responses to “hot night around the old outhouse”

  1. DougT Says:

    Your post brought back a bunch of nice memories for me. Campground outhouses are great places to look for moths under lights. When we go to Arizona each summer, we visit gas stations in remote locations. The bright lights bring in a huge diversity of moths and beetles, plus grasshoppers. We refer to these spots as magic gas stations.

  2. bev Says:

    Doug – I had never thought about gas stations, but yes, what a good place to look for moths, especially in a place like Arizona. I really should do more of that even up in my own area.

  3. robin andrea Says:

    What a great idea. The real hotspots at night are outhouses and gas-stations. I love it. Even though it’s obvious when we are in them, that the wildlife are flying everywhere, it doesn’t occur to us to make those spots our night-time destination. I still don’t know how you get moths to sit on your finger like that, bev. It’s magic.

  4. bev Says:

    robin – Yes! Isn’t it a good idea to check out these places, especially when traveling in areas surrounded by a lot of darkness — the redwoods are a perfect example. I would just love to visit one of these parks a little earlier in the season to see what might be attracted to the outhouses! Regarding moths, they do seem to like to crawl onto warm hands on cool nights. In this case, the moth readily climbed onto my friend’s hand and was quite reluctant to let go after.

  5. Phantom Midge Says:

    I pulled out all my moth books but can only ID one of them. The gray moth is a Pepper and Salt Geometer. I wish there was a definitive US moth book, but one of the better ones I use is Discovering Moths by John Himmelman.

  6. meeyauw Says:

    a rosy maple moth? I had one last summer, photos here (no, it’s not dead):

    continue on in the set (they are consecutive) for all rosy maple photos.

    great photos! I don’t like that crane fly.

  7. bev Says:

    Phantom Midge – Thanks for looking up the moths. When I get home, I’ll spend some time looking through the Moth Photographers Group plates and see if I can ID the rest.

    meeyauw – Similar, but a little different. Might be in the same family though. Once I get home, I’ll have more time to look up IDs.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.