Let’s talk about Lepidoptera – National Moth Week

By Natalie Sopinka

Catoptilia stigmatella. Photo: Suzanne Deschenes

Catoptilia stigmatella. Photo: Suzanne Deschenes

The OFNC and its members are quite fond of moths – leading excursions to locate moths in Larose Forest, keeping track of moths in the Fletcher Wildlife Garden, showcasing the diversity and beauty of this butterfly relative via numerous photographs, and simply observing nightly visitors to porch lights.

Last week (July 19-27) was National Moth Week, a global, citizen science initiative to promote nighttime exploration of this creature that plays an important role in maintaining ecosystem health. Though moth-specific outings in Ottawa weren’t organized this year for National Moth Week, this is an event that is on OFNC’s radar for 2015.

The week-long natural history celebration for “moth-ers” was established by naturalists and has gained considerable media attention in the US, including an article in The New York Times.

I knew little of moths before finding out about National Moth Week on Twitter. I learned many tidbits of information through Twitter and did some online moth exploration myself. Now I am amazed by their behaviour, popular culture, and fuzziness.

So without further adieu, a few moth facts and photos.

Don’t touch! Spines on Io moth (Automeris io) caterpillars are filled with venom!

Andrei Sourakov

Andrei Sourakov

Soapweed yucca plants (Yucca glauca) and yucca moths (Tegeticulla yuccasellaneed each other to survive.

Source: Robert & Linda Mitchell

Robert & Linda Mitchell

Silkworm moths (Bombyx mori) can drive a (robot) car toward female pheromones!

Moth-controlled robot (Ando et. al. 2013 Bioinspiration & Biomimetics. Volume 8)

Moth-controlled robot (Ando et. al. 2013 Bioinspiration & Biomimetics. Volume 8)

The Rosy Maple Moth (Dryocampa rubicunda) – part cotton candy, part cotton ball?

Patrick Spurlock

Patrick Spurlock

“Poop-eating sloth moths”, need I say more?

The Death’s head hawkmoth (Genus Acherontia) is not only known in film, but also prose – Edgar Allan’s Poe’s, The Sphinx.

Source: Google Images

Source: Google Images

Advertisements