First, thanks to everyone who’s sent me entries for the contest so far! It’s been great to see so many folks interested in moths (or at least interested in the book?). I’ve had a couple of people comment that they wanted to enter but didn’t have the time this week, so I thought I’d extend the deadline by a couple of days and give you guys the weekend to sort through the identifications. New deadline: midnight PST on Sunday, Aug 28. That’s 3am for EST readers. Winner will be announced on Monday. More details in the original post.
And on to other things. I had the guy above show up at my light a few nights ago. It’s a Brown Scoopwing, Calledapteryx dryopterata, Hodges #7653. The first time I saw one of these guys, the first year I was mothing, I was so excited to get it. Because, really, what a neat shape! I think even more than the bright colours, it was the weird shapes that I got really excited about early on (and still do, to an extent).
I’ve got this species at all of the houses I’ve lived since starting mothing, but for some reason I’ve always taken rather crappy photos. We actually had to solicit a photo for this species for the field guide because neither Dave nor I had one of sufficient quality. How could that have happened? It’s not even as though they’re particularly uncommon, either, such that we just never got the chance. They’re annual. In small numbers, yes, but still annual. So when I saw this guy at the light the other night I jarred him up so I could take a photo. Now I have one.
We’re pretty close to the north end of their range here. They’re not found up on the Shield, and we’re sort of at the edge of the Shield. Strangely, my annotated checklist for moths of Ontario says that the related species Gray Scoopwing is actually more common in the province. (Or perhaps “less uncommon” would be a better phrasing.) The Gray Scoopwing is found right up through the Boreal, too. And yet I’ve never seen a Gray Scoopwing, but I’ve seen Brown Scoopwing everywhere I’ve been. The Brown’s caterpillars feed on viburnam, while the Gray prefers honeysuckles. Lots of viburnum everywhere I’ve lived, so maybe I just haven’t had enough honeysuckle around.
And this second moth was a new one for me; or at least, I don’t have a photo of the species labeled anywhere in my file folders, which are pretty complete, if not that well organized. (Thank goodness for file searches.) It’s a Reniform Helotropha, Helotropha reniformis, Hodges #9453, and #93-2443 under the new numbering scheme. It’s associated with sedges found in wet habitats, which is sort of funny because our current home has the least amount of wet habitat near the house of the three places I’ve done the most mothing. If I’d have expected this species to show up anywhere it would have been at the lake house, but even my parents’ old house had some large vernal ponds and a good-sized swamp within view of the house. But the moths, they do whatever they want to do. It’s not the first time I’ve been surprised, and won’t be the last.