Monday, January 16, 2006

The rain didn't come; great little moth/butterfly?

I photographed the sunset yesterday, hoping that the cloud mass was going to bring promised rain.


Needless to say, we woke up to fluffy white clouds over the Catalinas this morning and finished with a brilliant blue sky all day. The temperature has dropped and it's pretty cold for Tucson. We're warned to cover frost-prone plants tonight.

While I was out on the patio, I spotted a small moth (at least I thought it was a moth - but I've been finding brown butterflies on Google). I don't know anything about moths or butterflies and would probably not have paid much attention if I hadn't been corresponding recently with Cindy (Woodsong - Dances with Moths). I'm glad I photographed it, because I didn't realize how exquisitely it was patterned until I enlarged the photo.

5 comments:

Ontario Wanderer said...

Great moth photo! There are so many moths and so few books that attempt to identify them that starting to look carefully may be the best we can do for now. Keep looking! Keep making photos! Keep sharing! Thanks!!!

Cindy said...

I'm glad you can/do appreciate the beauty of this little moth. Each one has it's own intricate designs/colors. From the appearance, it's definitely a noctuid (the largest family- their eyes will glow red when light hits them at night)
I have four moth guides, but unfortunately they don't cover your area of the U.S. There are at least 3 that cover species in my (and O.Wanderers) area though, and they're my most used guides.
However you might find your little guy here:

http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/distr/lepid/moths/az/toc.htm

id'ing moths can be tedious and time consuming- but I'm hooked on them :) If I run across one that resembles yours, I'll post again.
(This is why I abhor bugzappers- they kil very few mosquitoes/pests but DO kill many beneficial insects, such as moths)

Great photo Pam!

Cindy said...

here's another link for you,apparently the last one shows only the distribution of species.
Be sure and check out the photo of all of the moths on the sheets on the bottom of this webpag- my own moth sheets resemble this photo during the summer months :) Fun!

http://nitro.biosci.arizona.edu/zEEB/butterflies/AZLeps.html

Pam in Tucson said...

ontario wanderer: Thank you so much for your encouraging words. What a wonderful web log you have! I'll look forward to continued reading of it.

Cindy: Thank you for the references. Haven't had much time to go through them today, but I'll keep working on it. Jury duty at 7:30 tomorrow morning, so it's going to be an early bedtime for me tonight.

What fun to do moth sheets. I'll have to try it when the weather's warmer.

Pam in Tucson said...

Well, I think I've identified the little moth as Bulia Deductica. This photo, in a listing of Moths of Southeastern Arizona, is the closest I could find to the coloring on mine, but other photos definitely show the same patterns - many are yellower. Thanks so much, Cindy, for your help in pointing me to this source.

http://nitro.biosci.arizona.edu/zEEB/
butterflies/figs/moths/Noctuidae/
Catocalinae/B_deducta.jpg