Saturday, August 30, 2008

Night and Day

After several years of night-time observing I'm beginning to make the transition to day. This week I spent several bright sunny afternoons with Nick Wagerik and the bug watchers at their various observation posts. Here are two highlights:

Ambush Bug on Black-eyed Susan at the Shakespeare Garden.
This small insect stays in one spot for hours, waiting for prey.

Dogwood Borer Moth [Synanthedon scitula] seen on Mountain Mint patch near Sparrow Rock. This insect is tiny - smaller than a penny. One of the Clearwing moths, this one uses protective mimicry as a defense. The Mountain Mint was buzzing with bees and wasps, and this little creature looked just like them. But it's a moth, and a new one for our Central Park list.

Now, back to last week's unidentified micromoths. Regular website correspondent Nan Holmes saw my photos and wrote:

Dear Marie,
Micromoths? How micro is micro?. Is there a definition to this or do we just mean very tiny?
And I wrote back, smart-alec style:

Well, my [non-scientific] definition of micromoth is any damn lepidopteran too small to be included in Covell.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Many apologies Nan.Two of the three turn out to be in Covell's Field Guide to Eastern Moths. After I posted the photos Davie Rolnick, one of the charter members of the Central Park Mothers [rhymes with authors] wrote in from MIT [he is just starting his first year there] with an ID to #3. Then Hugh McGuinnes provided IDs for the two two others, with one of them also included in Covell.

Below the photos I posted last week, now identified:
Tufted Apple Bud Moth -- Platynota idaeusalis
Covell Plate 60 #16

Scoparia species

Elegant Grass-Veneer Moth -- Microcrambus elegans
Covell- Plate 64 #5