Sunday, September 26, 2010


(Yeah, even more bugs. So?)

What's in a name?

These moths are sublime, whatever they may be called--and I sincerely doubt any name could begin to do justice to that glorious creature on the miniature rose. (My moth book is no help whatsoever; everything pictured in it is dead and spread-eagled with a pin in its back, and many of the plates aren't even in color.)

ED. NOTE: Unlike myself, the Cape May Brit loves to pin names on things. Therefore I now know that the funky brown moth is a Soybean Looper ("looper" for a description of the caterpillar--an agricultural pest--and its locomotory efforts) and the lovely tan moth is called something I can neither spell nor pronounce and that doesn't do it any sort of justice at all.

Last week was also aflutter with butterflies: migrants, vagrants, and the last batch of locals.

Mourning Cloak. My-favorite-color blue, metallic-y cream and burgundy-brown... And how about that striation on the underside? Magnificent. (Little too much sun and shade to show this beauty off as it deserves, but with flutter-by's you take whatever photos you can get.)

Silver-Spotted Skipper. The only skipper (the "little brown jobs" of the butterfly world) other than Long-Tailed that I can confidently ID. And one that actually stays still nearly long enough to see clearly, although that silver spot stands out well even when the skipper is being a typical hyper skipper…

Question Mark. See it? A Comma doesn't have the dot. (I kid you not! Honest, those are truly the common names of these incredible dead-leaf mimics.) The white legs kill me...

Believe it or not, the topside of the Question Mark. Neat, huh? I'm not sure what's up with lavender edges on an orange butterfly, though... (Freaky Fact: this individual, because it is orange throughout and doesn't have mostly-black hindwings, is recently-hatched and will over-winter as an adult. Unusually warm and sunny winter days can bring out the commas and question marks and mourning cloaks. Butterflies in February! Nature is a weird and wonderful thing…)

Not-yet-wingéd thing: a clearwing moth caterpillar, hanging out on its food plant, a native honeysuckle. Caterpillars of Eastern North America tells me this is the less-typical brown coloration. (The green/teal/turquoise-y version must be spectacular in person.)

An adult clearwing from a few years ago. Also called hummingbird moths for their habit of hovering while feeding, thereby being frequently mistaken for hummingbirds.