Friday, May 13, 2011

green pug moth
Pasiphila rectangulata

This will be the last moth post for a while. I was still homebound at this point (photos taken on 05/13/11) and was starting to get bored, so I took pictures of some moths in our stairwell. Once again, Chris Grinter of The Skeptical Moth gave me his best guesses for the first two moths from e-mailed photos. I think he was correct with the Stenoporpia sp., although he expressed some uncertainty. This is not a typical moth found in our stairwell and did not move from its spot on the wall for at least 3 days... that is, until I poked it to make sure it was still alive - it promptly fluttered around and found a new spot to rest. For the second photo, Chris wasn't as sure as to which of the two Nepytia spp., because both are known from the Central Coast of CA and are very similar. I picked N. lagunata as more likely due to the way it rests it wings compared to N. umbrosaria. It's extremely common in our stairwell for the past month. As for the last photo, if anyone can help me ID this geometrid, please comment. I lightened the pictures a little, because with no flash they were a little dark. However, I did not aline or rotate the photos, since I suspect many moth species have a tendency to rest in a particular direction on a vertical surface.

ps - I originally posted the last picture as an unidentified geometrid moth. Thanks to Jennifer's comment below, I think we have a positive ID. Click on the embedded links in the common and scientific names for more pictures and information.

large yellow underwing ~ 05/13/11 ~ at home

large yellow underwing moth / European yellow underwing
Noctua pronuba

Well, as I've said before, I'm not always spot on in my IDs and will correct myself whenever I can. On March 22, 2011, I found a pupa while turning soil in one of my compost containers (click the embedded link to read that particular post). You can see the split, empty pupal casing in the second picture above. I had hoped the pupa was a painted tiger moth (Arachnis picta), considering I released my 2nd instar caterpillars in that open container 4 months before. Nope, I was wrong. Jennifer, a regular commenter on Nature ID and local friend, was correct in guessing it was a cutworm, as the caterpillar stage of this moth is also commonly known as a winter cutworm, an introduced species to North America from Europe and elsewhere. The morning I took this picture on 05/13/11 (I'm backposting on 05/25/11), it was lethargic, yet walking around a bit, so I'm guessing it must have just emerged. The next day, I tried to get a picture of its beautiful yellow hindwings, but it flew off in a flurry toward the sun.

ps - Again, many thanks to Chris Grinter of The Skeptical Moth for identifying several moths for me from e-mailed photos during my illness. While I'm feeling much better now, I'm desperately trying to catch up with work and regular life stuff. For those who have commented or e-mailed me, it may take a while before I can get around to replying.