Isn't this a striking creature?
I'm not sure what species of moth this is. If anyone knows please leave me a comment. I've tried to ID it thru Bug Guide but haven't quite narrowed it down yet.
I've taken a little time here recently to try and familiarize myself with moths and their purpose in the natural world. They are considered a pest to many. Some moth caterpillar species become invasive and can cause extensive damage to plants while others like the clothes moth can cause damage inside a home.
Aside from a few problematic species, moths play an important part in our ecosystem. They are a big part of the food chain, making meals for others like spiders, frogs, bats and birds. Moth larva also serve as a source of food for wildlife. Moths are also important pollinators. Many plants, especially night blooming ones, depend on moths for pollination.
Moths ans butterflies are closely related - both being of the order Lepidoptera. Some of the differences between moths and butterflies are fairly obvious if you look closely. Butterflies fly in the daytime, while most moths fly at night. Butterfly antennae are thin and smooth, with small clubs at the end. Moths have a thicker, feathery antennae, without the club on the end. Most moths have thicker bodies as well.
The above photo may look like a moth at first glance but if you notice the "clubs" (circled in red) on the end of its antennae, you will see that it's a butterfly.
Another easy way to tell butterfly and moths apart is to watch it land. If it's wings are folded together pointing up, its probably a butterfly. If its wings are folded against its body or pointing out flat from its sides, it's probably a moth.
My daughter has a bug book with a recipe for attracting moths - called "moth sugar". I personally haven't tried this but my daughter and I hope to do this before the summer ends.
Here is the recipe:
- 3 tbs sugar
- 2 tbs apple juice
- 1 quart plastic jug/container
- old paint brush
(1) Fill jug with water (2) mix sugar and apple juice into the jug of water (3) use the paint brush to brush the "moth sugar" on a rock, stump, fence post or wherever...or soak the sponge in the mixture and hang it up in a tree (4) just after dark, go see if you have any moth visitors!
Have a good weekend everyone!