hours

on the hydrangea –

a common buckeye butterfly (Junonia coenia).

 

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Surviving, colored design fading, a toothed brown carpet moth
(Xanthorhoe lacustrata) shows the beauty of its aging.

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It’s been two blooms since the milkweed received this plume moth.

Still uncertain about the species, I’ll venture narrowing it down to

Himmelman’s (Geina tenuidactylus) or Buck’s (Geina Bucksi) Plume Moth.

Based on illustrations in the Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern

North America (Beadle & Leckie, 2012)–and a hunch, I guess–my bet’s on Buck’s.

 

 

 

 

 

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Nearly escaping notice: a small still moment
in a red-banded hairstreak’s day

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WordPress recently wished some little crum creek a happy 5th anniversary.
That’s hard to believe!  But unposted encounters do pile up over the years.
So it seems fitting to revisit some lingering conundrums.

For example, putting names to the various creatures here can be tricky.
To confirm this particular skipper (Hesperiidae family of butterflies),
I reached out to BAMONA.

Turns out to be a female sachem (Atalopedes campestris),
an early arrival on the butterfly bush back in May 2012.

Though I’ve not yet spotted one this spring,
we should have a pretty good idea of what to watch for!

 For help with skippers and other butterflies, the following sites have been great resources:

Skippers of the Northeast (excellent short videos)
Nature Photography by Bob Moul (incredible photo galleries)
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA, my go-to for verifying IDs)
Winged Beauty (Jeff’s pictures of skippers are just a part of his great project)

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Occasionally mowing rouses a colorful escapade before the mower’s blades,
such as the black and orange blur of a banded tiger moth’s flight,*

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which often ends with a moth wedging itself head first
between blades of grass where it lands.

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And so, briefly, I detained this one for the simple reason
of sharing the lively colors of a coming season.

*Reportedly moths of the Apantesis genus can be difficult to distinguish. But I’m winging it here and identifying this one as the banded tiger moth (Apantesis vittata) because of the solid black border of the hindwing (differentiating it from the often spotted black border of the harnessed tiger moth, Apantesis phalerata).  As always, corrections welcome!

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Before a Philadelphia gardener introduced China’s tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima) to America in the eighteenth century,  ancestors of this colorful moth (Atteva aurea) likely remained in their native Florida and other points south.

But as tree-of-heaven spread, so did the moths, assuming the tree’s name when their caterpillars adopted its leaves as a food source.

Here now, not far from where Ailanthus altissima was introduced over 200 years ago, the autumnal pattern of an Ailanthus webworm moth complements bright clusters of white snakeroot along Little Crum Creek.

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Painted ladies might blend well with the powdered flowers of a butterfly bush.

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But they aren’t generally shy about a proper distinction.

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And I’m happy to oblige them on this late summer visit

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with a few flattering pictures.

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Plodding uphill we spot what was missed gliding down:
the large lace-border moth under an azalea leaf.

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morning footfalls spirit up
short-lived flights of lucerne moths
above creekside grasses.

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