This weekend the wizards over at Environment Canada are forecasting a warm front moving through. Saturday and Sunday are both supposed to be in the mid-20s (high 70s F), the warmest days we’ve seen yet this spring. I have no doubt that the blacklights are going to be exceptionally busy those nights, so in preparation I wanted to post up the remainder of my photos from the last big push at my sheet last week.
We’re starting to see more variety emerging. While on the early nights I might have half a dozen species coming to the lights, on the recent warmer nights there may be 20 or 30. This is a great count for early April, but it still pales compared to the numbers that might be possible at the height of summer: in good locations, species counts can reach 150-200 species in a single night.
I’m still catching good numbers of the early groups, sallows and pinions and Phigalias. However, I’m starting to see increasing numbers of other groups, as well. There are a number of chunky-bodied fuzzy moths, which are usually associated with the cooler months when the hairy bodies help with thermoregulation. Among these are the yellowhorns, so named for the colour of their antennae.
Some of them can be really fuzzy, such as the Gluphisias.
Carpets are in the family Geometridae, a group that tend to be very broad and flat, often holding their wings flat to the sides rather than tented over their body. They generally have broad bands of colour across their wings, like a braided rug. The Variable Carpet is one of the earliest.
Quakers and daggers are very striking groups that somewhat resemble the sallows in shape. The daggers especially tend to be black and white, and more streaky, while the quakers come in a broader range of colours and patterns, though they typically show the two spots on the wings. The Distinct Quaker is a smart looking one.
We’re right at the northern edge of the range for this one, the Common Oak Moth. It’s associated, unsurprisingly, primarily with oak forests, as that tree group is its only host species. It seems to be more common to the south in Carolinian forests. Oak is a strong component of the woodlands through our region, and I’ve noticed a number of oak-associated species are fairly common here, particularly compared to elsewhere in the province.
One such would be this, the Figure-eight Sallow, so named because the orbicular and claviform spots (the two on the upper forewing) touch, forming an 8. Their host plants are maples and oaks, both common.
And finally, the Chosen Sallow. Although you wouldn’t guess it just by looking at it, this species is in the same genus as the Figure-eight Sallow. Although wide-spread, the Chosen seems to be a less common species than the Figure-eight, possibly due to its host plants, hickory and walnut, being more uncommon. That said, I had upwards of a dozen of them at my lights here last week.
That’s it for last week’s moths! I’ll be busy with my blacklights this weekend, but should have a great crop of new species to share next week.