Moth Diaries

As regular readers of my Marsh Diaries posts will know, I’ve been having a very moth-y summer. I’ve not had much luck taking pictures of my visitors, as they all show up at night. Or most of them, at any rate.

The last visit to the lake, I awoke to a warm, sunny morning. I zipped open the window for some air, and as I folded back the flap, look who I found.

It generally takes a lot to make me chuckle first thing in the morning, but that did it. The word plague drifted through my mind as well. I left him there until I had some coffee, then put him out, and watched until he flew into a nearby poplar tree.

Just before we rolled up the outdoor carpet prior to leaving, I happened to look down, and found this beautiful little fellow.

He was a very complacent moth. I picked him up with my right hand, then started for my camera. Realizing at that point I needed my right hand to take a picture, I transferred him over to my left hand and still he didn’t fly. I put him back on the ground out of harms way, and he very obligingly opened his wings so I could get a shot of the bright orange underneath.

I was so enamored with this beautiful bug I had to do some moth research when I got home. He was a Virgin Tiger Moth, a widespread species which occurs from Newfoundland to Alberta. I’d never seen one of these before, but truthfully, I’ve never spent as much time looking at moths as I have this summer.

During my research, I discovered an excellent website on Insects of Alberta, which is where the following five pictures come from. There was no way I could match the moths we’ve been releasing all summer to any of the species on the website, but perhaps they are a different color when young, or something. I am most decidedly not  a moth expert!

These first three are the closest I can come to the ones we’re encountering most often.

Purple Lined Sallow

Smoked Sallow

Bronzed Cutworm

We also see the following, but not in such large numbers.

Alfalfa Looper

Clemens' Clepsis

Outside of the trailer, we also have a lot of these flittering around.


And finally, I suspect this isn’t even a moth, but I do like his funky little yellow legs.

I must admit I’m not quite as fond of moths as I was at the beginning of the summer, but it could be worse. As I was taking pictures of the Virgin Tiger Moth, a Horse Fly took a chomp out of the back of my hand. A trailer full of those guys would really cut short my camping season, and there would definitely be more smacking than releasing going on.

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2 Responses to Moth Diaries

  1. Pat says:

    He was a beautiful little guy, and I’m glad I noticed him before it was too late. Thanks for the ID on my non-moth picture!

  2. John says:

    I’m jealous of the second moth. I haven’t found one of those yet.

    The second to last picture is a cabbage white butterfly.