National Moth Week at Pokeberry Pines

Last Saturday kicked off National Moth Week, and our friends over at Roads End Naturalist invited us over to see what kind of moths would show up at their house in the woods. While Melissa broadcast our finds via her work Zoom session with the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, we flitted from porch to porch trying to identify various critters, which Mike documented beautifully here. We were so excited by our moth night there, that we decided to see what night flying critters live here at Pokeberry Pines.

Last night we set up a sheet and UV light on the back deck around dusk and waited. As the sky darkened, thousands of tiny flying critters converged on our deck, a literal tornado of insects around the UV light! After a while bigger insects started showing up – beetles and stink bugs and yes, moths! A couple of hours later, we were amazed at the number and diversity of moths and other critters that had visited our back deck. Below you will see some of the ones we photographed using just our cell phones (so apologies for the quality). We used the Seek app to identify as many as we could, so if anyone sees errors here, let us know. With over 160,000 species of moths in the world, we probably got a few IDs wrong!

Some species of White Miller Caddisfly (not a moth)
A mayfly
A moth in the genus Hypena
The most abundant of the moths from our deck – an Elegant Grass-veneer (about 1/4 inch long!)
A Cucujiform beetle
Unknown species
A Green cutworm moth
Smoky tetanolita moth
One of my favorites – a Black-bordered lemon moth (perfect name!)
Southern masked chafer beetle
Mint-loving Pyrausta moth
Yellow-striped armyworm moth
Ailanthus webworm moth – gotta love these guys because their larvae eat the invasive tree of heaven!
A plant hopper of the Gyponini family
Our largest visitor of the night – a Summer Fishfly! About 2.5 inches long, the adults like this only live a few days.
Esther moth – they like pine forests, so we have plenty of habitat for them!
Vetch looper moth
White spring moth
Another mayfly

Besides the moths and bugs, the stars were brilliant in the dark sky last night. We listened to the night insects trilling and enjoyed the warm summer breeze as we waited for more moths to show up. Always grateful for those moments and this place. I hope you will take some time to enjoy your night sky and night critters, too.

We’re going to put the sheet and light out on the front porch later this week to see if we get anything different. In the meantime, stay healthy, y’all!

8 comments

  1. I envision a cape – a Black Bordered Lemon Moth cape! For Halloween or whatever costume party you might attend. Neat stuff. LPD

  2. Such numbers and variety! I also like the appearance of the Ailanthus webworm moth. Sounds like a fun time. Did you bring any critters into the house inadvertently (on your clothes)? 🙂

    Steve Prentice-Dunn

  3. Deb, the pics are great!You had a plethora of beautiful visitors. Asking for photographers ok to show your pictures in this week’s science & biology lesson for Tristan. Last week was butterflies!

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