Saturday, May 5, 2012

Week 18: A Weekend in Nacogdoches

This past weekend we spent a few wonderful days at Stag Leap Country Inn just outside of Nacogdoches.  This Bed and Breakfast is unlike any that I have been to before; instead of a single house there are several cabins spread out over 200 acres.  The land is covered in rich mixed forest making it a wonderful place for hiking, birding [Stag Leap is part of the Prairie and Pineywoods Birding Trail PPW-E 011] or, yes, even mothing.  Our cabin had two nice porch lights that attracted quite a few interesting moths.

Io Moth - Automeris io (#7746)
Forewing: 35mm
Also reported in Zones 3,4,5,6
Caution: Caterpillars of the Io Moth can sting (Read more at eXtension)
A closely related species A. louisiana occurs on the Upper Texas Coast but lacks markings on the forewings.

Tulip-tree Beauty - Epimecis hortaria (#6599)
While the markings on this moth can vary widely, the strongly scalloped hind wings are a key characteristic.

 Forewing: 28mm
 Forewing: 25mm

Giant Leopard Moth - Hypercompe scribonia (#8146)
Forewing: 35mm
Also reported in Zones 3,4,5,6
This is perhaps the most readily identified moth after Luna Moth. On some individuals the spots are filled but they can still be distinguished from the Wood Leopard Moth (Zeuzera pyrina) by the white on the legs.

Ultronia Underwing - Catocala ultronia (#8857)
Forewing: 28mm
Unlike most underwings the forewing pattern of C. ultronia runs from the base to the tip of the wing instead of across the back.

One more unusual Moth (from Rusk County)
Trumpet Vine Moth - Clydonopteron sacculana  (#5563)
Forewing: 10mm

Moth Poetry
In school this week my son had to write a poem about something that flies.  He said everyone else was doing birds and airplanes and he wanted to be different.  So he wrote a poem about moths.

flying in the dark
finding the light
landing by the light
waiting for the next night

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