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22 June 2012

22 June 2012 – Bugs or Bullies?

Double Square-spot, Xestia triangulum

There were no new species this morning, but two were new to me. First was the Marbled Minor (Oligia strigilis). Oligia simply means ‘small’ and strigilis, (little line) refers to the black vein-like projections on its wings. The other, the Double Square-spot (Xestia triangulum), got my hopes up because I mistook it for the rare Triple-spotted Clay. It is a beautiful moth with its texture (Xestia means polished or smooth) and its bold patterns (triangulum refers to the straw-colored triangle wedged within the black sections of the wings).

I must admit that the most memorable visitors to the trap were the twenty or so flies who were wide-awake and quite aggressive. I watched as one sleepy Carpet Moth was jolted awake by a fly. After the moth resettled in a different spot, the fly followed and nudged again, this time shooing the moth from the trap. Later, I held a different moth out at arms length to photograph it atop its egg carton. Much to my dismay, another fly jumped into the frame of the photograph and knocked the sleeping moth from its perch. I think the flies are starting to get jealous of all the attention the moths have been getting lately.

Marbled Minor (Oligia strigilis) moments before the fly knocked him off the edge

After a series of dreary wet days I am traveling south this weekend and will not be back until Tuesday. Since I won’t be here to remind you, please remember to report your findings to Moth Night 2012.  Have a great first weekend of summer!

Post by Helen Levins