Journal archives for November 2019

November 05, 2019

Fall Moths

The more I observe moths, the more I learn about their seasonality. I have more or less stopped my nightly monitoring of moths in my backyard, but occasionally I'm coming home after dark (especially now that the time has changed) and check the porch light to see what's around. I've been pleasantly surprised with a few species on my porch that are not common for my yard. This makes me think maybe I should do more late season monitoring of moths. I may have to get my black light out again!

I wanted to highlight a few species that seem to be more common at this time of the year. I used the iNaturalist observation filtering tools and viewed the individual species seasonality graphs to generate this list. These seasonality graphs are probably only part of the story since they are made from all observations, not just Oklahoma observations. I know that location affects the seasonality as well, so keep that in mind.

Bent-line Dart
According to the seasonality chart, this species is on the wing from September to December, hitting a peak in October. I was particularly happy to find this one on my porch recently, since I had never seen it at my house before. I'm pretty sure that's just from my lack of observations at this time of year.

Bicolored Sallow
This species has pretty much the same seasonality as the Bent-line Dart, hitting it's peak in October as well.

White-tipped Black
I have not seen this species myself so I'm jealous and a little driven to go looking for them. So far we don't have any iNat sightings in central Oklahoma, but we do have them both east and west of us. Apparently this species is common year round in Texas and Florida and then shows up during September to November outside of that range. There was an irruption in 2007 in Oklahoma, which John Fisher documented here. Based on the photos, I believe this is a day-flying moth.

Green Cloverworm
Green Cloverworms are present year round and stand out to me as the most common moth at my house, especially late in the year. Their seasonality peak is in August, but continues at a high level throughout the fall.

Morning-glory Plume and Armyworm
These moths are also present throughout the year. The peak months are July and August but there is another bump in October. I have had several of each of these on my porch recently.

Cobbler Moth
This species has low counts throughout the year with a short peak in October.

Eight-spot Moth
This species hits its peak in October, with a smaller peak in July.

Isabella Tiger Moth
This species hits its peak seasonality in September and October. This is one of those species that seems to be seen more often as a caterpillar and less often as an adult moth. Why? Perhaps they are not attracted to lights... I haven't seen this species, so I need to be on the look out! We don't have any iNat observations of an adult of this species in Oklahoma.

Venerable and Pale-banded Darts
There are a number of darts that are more prevalent from late summer through fall. The Venerable Dart peaks in September and the Pale-banded peaks in October.

I'm sure I'm leaving out plenty of species, but these were the ones that jumped out at me when I was searching in iNaturalist. Certainly with more observing during these fall months we will get a better feel for which species to expect during this season.

I'm also curious about why certain species are more common this time of year. I assume it is mostly due to the larval food source, but I haven't spent much time looking into each species yet.

Have you been noticing any other species this time of year that is maybe less common during the summer?

Posted on November 05, 2019 16:28 by zdufran zdufran | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 19, 2019

New banner image!

I have updated the banner image on the Moths of Oklahoma project page with yet another caterpillar. This one is an Isabella Tiger Moth (Pyrrharctia isabella) observed by Bill Carrell (@arrowheadspiketail58) at Oxley Nature Center in Tulsa. Thanks for sharing this great observation, Bill!

We only have 3 iNat observations of this species within Oklahoma and all three are of caterpillars. Chances are good that this moth occurs throughout most of the state, although the available data suggests it is probably most common in the northeast part of the state. Looking at iNat's data, I see that there are two periods of time when caterpillars are seen: spring (April) and fall (August-November). There are fewer adult observations and mostly during the months of June and July. I wonder when and where someone will observe the first adult in Oklahoma.

Posted on November 19, 2019 21:12 by zdufran zdufran | 0 comments | Leave a comment