Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: The Big One

I’ve been setting up my blacklight in my yard every night for three and a half weeks now and check on it periodically throughout the evening.  It’s been an interesting experience and I’ve learned a lot of new things about insect behaviors that I didn’t know before by watching the things that come to my light.  However, what I’ve really been hoping for is just one big moth.  My backyard is all grass except for a row of non-native privet hedges, so it’s not an ideal habitat for most big things.  Still, I finally got one big moth last night:

tulip tree silkmoth

Tulip tree silkmoth

A tulip tree silkmoth!  These are large, beautiful moths that come out a little earlier in the evening than a lot of the other large moths.  Indeed, this one showed up on the sheet about 10:30PM.  It was still on my sheet this morning, so I picked it up to move it to the bushes so it wouldn’t be quite so conspicuous to my dogs.  It eventually flew off.  What a lovely thing to see!

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Nom Nom Nom

When the plant called rattlesnake master blooms, you can expect to find all sorts of insects coming to it to feed!  I don’t know exactly what it is about this plant that is so incredibly alluring to so many species of insects, but the strange little spiky flower balls can become absolutely covered with bees, ants, wasps, butterflies, moths, beetles, and other insects.  It recently bloomed in my area, so today I bring you a photo of a delta flower scarab and a little bee chowing down on nectar from a rattlesnake master flower cluster:

Delta flower scarab on rattlesnake master

Delta flower scarab on rattlesnake master

The flowers smell awful to me, so I guess you have to be a pollinator to fully appreciate them.

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Not a Moth

National Moth Week is here, and I’ve spent more time than I’d care to admit watching and thinking about moths over the past five days.  Trust me: you’ll be inundated with my moth mania here soon!  Found this little guy on my front door a few nights ago though, and I had to share:

Moth fly

Moth fly

That is NOT actually a moth, but a moth fly.  It’s hard to confirm without having one in hand, but there are only two little wings on these tiny insects which, in spite of fuzzy appearances, makes them flies and not moths.  The larvae of these are often called drain flies and live in some pretty nasty habitats, but the adults are positively adorable!  Who’s with me on this?! :)

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Eggs

It’s blackberry time in North Carolina!  Blackberries all over the Triangle Area are currently laden with ripe fruit, so I went out picking at work before we opened last weekend.  We’d been finding little groups of metallic gold insect eggs all over the grounds for a few weeks, and I found another little group of them while I was blackberry hunting:

Golden insect eggs

Golden insect eggs

The picture doesn’t do the coloration justice at all as these are bright, shiny gold in real life, but I’m sharing them anyway.  After searching around a bit, I believe these are eggs of a leaf-footed bug, an insect in the family Coreidae.  I love it when I randomly come across beautiful bugs when I’m out looking for something else!

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Rosy Maples

Well, it’s officially July!  I’ve got a few lovely days off this week (woo!) and I’ve already started to get excited about this year’s National Moth Week.  I love Moth Week!  I wrote about it for the blog at my museum last week and I am going on a local news morning show on Saturday to talk about the event I put on for it at the museum each year, so I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently.  Really ready to start seeing things like this again:

Rosy maple moth

Rosy maple moth

Rosy maple moths are pretty common around here, but they are spectacular and put a smile on my face every time I see one.  How can you resist  a fuzzy moth that’s the color of rainbow sherbet?

Are you all ready for National Moth Week?  It’s July 19-27 this year, so make plans to view some moths that week.  You never know what amazing things you’ll see!

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Good Day

It’s always a good day at work when you go to visit one of your coworkers and he plops a big cecropia moth into your hands out of the blue:

Cecropia moth

Cecropia moth

That isn’t a particularly great photo, but what spectacular creatures!  I love working at a place where these sorts of things are relatively common occurrences.  I work with a whole horde of nature nerds – and I love every minute of it!

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Coming Up For Air

I had my camera at work the other day, taking some photos of the red-headed woodpecker that’s nesting there.  Quitting time came, so I closed up the office and the field station and headed down to the pond for some after-hours photography before heading home.  The light was harsh and very bright, but it highlighted a bunch of animals popping their heads up out of the water all over the pond:

Tadpole surfacing

I thought at first that they were fish, but we don’t have fish in the Prairie Ridge pond.  The only other thing that made sense was that they could be tadpoles coming up for air, but I didn’t know enough about tadpoles to know if this is something they even do.  So I asked one of the Museum’s herpetologists about it and sent him this picture – and I was right!  Tadpoles apparently do this when oxygen levels are low.  If the hundreds of tadpoles I saw were any indication, the oxygen levels in the pond are pretty bad right now…

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth