I discovered this moth tucked into the loops of the mistnet at the banding station a couple of days ago. It was tucked underneath on one of the lower loops and I almost missed it as we walked by on our round to check the nets. There are a few species of moth which are regularly encountered during daylight hours, and I had actually been seeing a few of these about, fluttering from spot to spot in a slow, un-butterfly-like manner. This one doesn’t fall into that category, though, and I was surprised, and delighted, to spot it there.
The species is Georgian Prominent, Hyperaeschra georgica. The prominents (family Notodontidae) are all mostly thick-bodied, often fuzzy moths that usually rest with their wings curled around their abdomen or tented over their back such that their shape is raised from the surface they’re resting on (compared to other moths that keep their wings spread and so are flat against the surface). For whatever reason, the prominents are among my favourite groups of moths.
The Georgian is a fairly widespread species, found through most of the continent except the Pacific Northwest. The caterpillars feed on various species of oak, and there’s hardly a corner of the continent that’s without some sort of Quercus species. Around here these moths will be on the wing from around now through mid-summer, though they’ll have a longer flight season in the south of their range.
I gently plucked it from the loop in order to get a better photo, but the contact woke it up and it fluttered from my hand to the ground. After a few more shots, I picked it up and placed it in some shrubs where it would have some protection from birds until night fell.
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