MOTH PROJECTOR at Prairie Haven

Marcie and Mike O’Connor, moth’ers from Wisconsin (USA), experimented with a new scheme this year, for their moth party. One of the problems people always have – especially folks who have never looked at moths before – is that moths are hard to appreciate by just looking at them with your eyes. The colors are often subtle, and the designs tiny. So they came up with this idea – to let people see the enlarged photos as they’re being taken. Mike came up with the way to do it, and he’s written out how on a blog page.

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6th Annual Mothing at Long Lips Farm, Kansas, USA – Guest Post by Lenora Larson

For the past six years, the Idalia Society (the Kansas City area chapter of the Mid-American Society of Lepidopterists) has hosted a black lighting event on the third Saturday of July at my property, Long Lips Farm in Paola, Kansas. This 27 acre rural area has multiple habitats, including a lake, woodlot, wetlands, pastures and a 2 acre certified butterfly garden. Native plants, especially lepidopteran host plants, have been welcomed and/or planted to promote a diverse population of insects. No insecticides have been used for over 30 years and “clean-up” is minimal, so the property is wonderfully alive with insects, spiders, birds, amphibians and all the other residents of a natural habitat.

 The Event

Insect-lovers are a friendly and inclusive group, so we always invite Kansas and Missouri Master Naturalists, the Kansas Native Plant Society and Master Gardeners from the two adjacent counties. We welcomed over 60 individuals with the usual Kansas summer evening temperature of 85 degrees with 85 per cent humidity and a slight breeze, pleasant for both insects and humans.

Participants began arriving at 7:00 PM with their lawn chairs and a dish to pass for the pot luck dinner.  Since the moths don’t arrive until about 9:30 PM, we relaxed with a sumptuous Midwestern feast, adult beverages and enjoyed each other and the gardens. When the Datura inoxia opened at 9:00 PM to summon the Hummingbird Moths, we set up the light traps.  Being 30 miles south of the city, there is minimal light pollution.

Lenora Larson Datura opening

Datura. Photo: Lenora Larson

Lighting the Way

We always establish multiple locations with long extension cords to power different light sources including two mercury vapor lamps, a pure neon UV and black lights in order to maximize moth sightings. White sheets and my barn’s white door are the reflective surfaces. Incidentally, I turn on my lights most evenings, but since I am ‘early to bed, early to rise’ person, I leave them on all night. Most insect visitors remain on the sheet, so come dawn I can greet and study them at my leisure until they fly away the next evening.

Lenora Larson Black Light set-up

Photo: Lenora Larson

Insect Visitors

This year’s local Facebook and personal conversations have lamented a regrettable paucity of insects, possibly because of our unusually cold wet June. Consequently, we were not surprised that our usual throngs of moths did not arrive.  Of course the always reliable Carolina Hummingbird Moth  and 5-Spotted Hawk Moth  joined us, first on the Cleome and then on the sheet. Other visitors included a Blue Dasher Damsel Fly  and many adorable Tree Frogs.  Hope springs eternal in the entomologist’s heart, so we are looking forward to our annual mothing on the first Sunday in September.  Will they come?

Carolina Hummingbird Moth

Carolina Hummingbird Moth. Photo: Lenora Larson

5-spotted Hawk Moth, photo: Linda Williams

5-spotted Hawk Moth, photo: Linda Williams

Blue Dasher. Photo: Betsy Betros

Blue Dasher. Photo: Betsy Betros

Lenora Larson Tree Frog

Tree frog. Photo: Lenora Larson

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Moth Night at Monte Bello, California, USA – Guest Post by Debbi Brusco

On July 23, 2016, Midpen (Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District) volunteers hosted their third “Moth Night at Monte Bello” during National Moth Week.

Along with docents Debbi Brusco, Jack Owicki, and Sara Witt, naturalist friends Ken-ichi Ueda (of iNaturalist) and Ken Hickman set up four blacklight sheets. After an introduction, docents Jan Hintermeister and Katherine Greene took about 20 people for a short one-mile night hike from dusk to dark. In the meantime, the rest of the group waited for flying treasures to land on the sheets. The hiking group returned at 10:30 to observe what had appeared at the sheets.

Debbi Brusco1

The sheets were set up in the preserve parking lot. One was two-sided (two blacklights) and over the signboard at the south trailhead. The second was at the west edge of the lot with a long party blacklight, the third also west, 30’ down a trail under some oaks, two-sided with a CFL blacklight on the side facing the lot, and a white 2700k CFL then blue LED on the east side, and the fourth was 300’ down a grassland trail, with a blacklight and white light. The grassland sheet got the least number of insects, and the white CFL was too bright, leaking through the sheets and washing out the blacklight, not to mention messing up night vision. The blue LED didn’t really attract much. That site under the trees was very warm.

Debbi Brusco2

The first year, 2014, was the best in terms of insect/moth observations. It was warm, virga was visible in the beautiful sunset, and a surprising number of very large insects showed up—giant water bugs, ten-lined June beetle, and California Prionus. It was also fun to get a black burying beetle with phoretic mites, and a native agile ground mantis. The most surprising moth was a yellow Hesperumia fumosaria. 17 people participated this first year.

In 2015, the weather was cold and windy until 10:00, but some things did manage to show–a white-lined sphinx moth, and a ten-lined June beetle as well as some other moths, once the wind calmed down. Despite the weather, 20 people participated and most went on the hike to warm up.

Monte Bello 3

This year, 2016, was also warm, t-shirt temperature all night. Unexpectedly, there was a waitlist for the event! 25 got on the waitlist, and 25 participants showed up. Some moths that were observed in the previous years were missed. This Nemoria was a first for moth week, and the Ypsolopha canariella was also seen in 2014.

Monte Bello 4Monte Bello 5

Perhaps next year will show another increase in interested participants.

If you’re interested in seeing the observations that were photographed on those dates, here are the ones from 2016: http://tinyurl.com/MBNMW2016 .

Here are 2015: http://tinyurl.com/MBNMW2015 and 2014: http://tinyurl.com/MBNMW20141 .

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Project Noah extends virtual patch availability to August 14

Project Noah is a citizen science project mobilizing new generations of nature explorers and helping people around the world appreciate their local wildlife. The ‘Noah’ in Project Noah stands for networked organisms and habitats. Project Noah aims to harness the power and popularity of new mobile technologies to promote wildlife awareness, collect important ecological data, and help preserve global biodiversity by contributing wildlife sightings in the form of spottings.

mothweek2016

Still have spottings from National Moth Week that you haven’t submitted to one of our partners? Have no fear—Project Noah has extended the availability of the Moth Week 2016 virtual patch until August 14! All you need to do is submit your moth findings to Project Noah’s Moths of the World mission.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Moth Night at the Cairns Botanic Gardens (Australia), Guest Post by Dave Rentz

The first Cairns Moth Night was held on the evening of the 27th July at the Cairns Botanic Gardens with around 76 members of the Friends and the public in attendance.

Moth Week was conceived in the US some years ago as a time to initiate public awareness in the diversity of moths. Since the summer season is the time of greatest insect activity, the week of the 27th of July was selected as possibly the best time because the moon would not interfere. Being it is the Australian winter, one would not expect many moths to show up at light sheets in the southern part of the continent but in Cairns where we have mild winters, and an especially mild winter this year, we can expect some insect traffic at light sheets at any time of the year.

Moth Week has blossomed into an international event with some 42 countries taking part as well as a plethora of American cities all participating during the week.

Our Moth Night was a bit disappointing for reasons only the moths can know! However, there was a variety of other insects that intrigued our visotrs.

We set two sheets at the beginning of the Red Arrow track and in the gully below. We saw a variety of spiders, mantids, wasps, flies, crickets and even a Striped Possum and a Honey Glider.  As a result we will have our November Night Walk along the Red Arrow Track. We will set up a light sheet or two to compare the numbers of moths and other insects with what we saw in winter. Should be interesting so come along and bring a light and camera.


Dave Rentz is a Member of the Order of Australia, 2013 (AM) ; Honorary Fellow, California Academy of Sciences ; Adjunct Professorial Research Fellow, School of Marine & Tropical Biology, James Cook University and Ig-Nobel Award winner: Biology 2011

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Project Noah Fun Fact: White Underwing

For every day of National Moth Week, our partner, citizen science website Project Noah featured a fun fact about the underwing moths, Catocala, and their look-alikes. Today is the last day of National Moth Week—we hope you enjoyed the fun facts!

From Project Noah:

White Underwing (Catocala relicta), spotted by Project Noah user TomElliott.

White Underwing (Catocala relicta), spotted by Project Noah user TomElliott.

Fun Fact! The White Underwing is a unique member of the Catocala genus, as most moths in this genus have drably colored forewings often decorated in browns and grays. The White Underwing, however is different in that it has very boldly colored forewings that only seem to blend in with White Birch (Betula papyrifera).

You can participate in the global citizen science project National Moth Week! National Moth Week 2016 is July 23-31. Visit the website for more information and be sure to register a public or private event! An event can be as simple as observing the moths that come to a porch. During NMW, be sure to submit your photos to one of our many partners! If you submit them to Project Noah, be sure to add them to the National Moth Week mission, Moths of the World!

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National Moth Week events today, July 31, 2016

These are mothing events being held today, July 31, 2016!

Check the map for mothing events being held around the world today.

Green events are public, Blue are private.

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Project Noah Fun Fact: Large Yellow Underwing

For every day of National Moth Week, our partner, citizen science website Project Noah featured a fun fact about the underwing moths, Catocala, and their look-alikes. Today is the last day of National Moth Week—we hope you enjoyed the fun facts!

From Project Noah:

Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba), spotted by Project Noah user venusflytrap2000.

Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba), spotted by Project Noah user venusflytrap2000.

Fun Fact! The Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba), though named an underwing, is actually not closely related to the true underwing moths in the genus Catocala. This moth is common throughout Eurasia, and was introduced in the United States a little over 30 years ago, with the first record in Maine in 1985. The moth quickly spread across the entire North American continent, with the first records in Alaska coming in 2005.

You can participate in the global citizen science project National Moth Week! National Moth Week 2016 is July 23-31. Visit the website for more information and be sure to register a public or private event! An event can be as simple as observing the moths that come to a porch. During NMW, be sure to submit your photos to one of our many partners! If you submit them to Project Noah, be sure to add them to the National Moth Week mission, Moths of the World!

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National Moth Week events today, July 30, 2016

These are mothing events being held today, July 30, 2016!

Check the map for mothing events being held around the world today.

Green events are public, Blue are private.

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Project Noah Fun Fact: Yellow-banded Underwing

For every day of National Moth Week, our partner, citizen science website Project Noah will be featuring a fun fact about the underwing moths, Catocala, and their look-alikes.

From Project Noah:

Fun Fact! The Yellow-banded Underwing (Catocala cerogama) is unique in that it has a singular yellow band against a black background on the hindwings. This is different from other Catocala with yellow on the hindwings, which have more than one black line against a yellow background.

You can participate in the global citizen science project National Moth Week! National Moth Week 2016 is July 23-31. Visit the website for more information and be sure to register a public or private event! An event can be as simple as observing the moths that come to a porch. During NMW, be sure to submit your photos to one of our many partners! If you submit them to Project Noah, be sure to add them to the National Moth Week mission, Moths of the World!

Posted in Moth Identification, Moth Information, NMW Collaborators | Leave a comment