Thursday 25 June 2015

Some Confusing Diurnal Moths...

Day-flying moths are relatively uncommon—the vast majority of moths are nocturnal—but some diurnal moths may be commonly confused with other similar-appearing day-flyers. For example, this is a white-spotted sable, Anania funebris, not the more famous—and frequently illustrated in field guides—eight-spotted forester, Alypia octomaculata. The differences are subtle: the sable has 2 large and 1 small white spot on each forewing while the forester has only 2 large yellow or cream-coloured spots on each of its forewings, and the forester has bright orange fringes on the fore- and mid-legs that the sable lacks. Photographed near Apple River, NS, on June 20, 2015.

Similarly, this cranberry spanworm, Ematurga amitaria, can be easily confused with the black-banded orange, Epelis truncataria. The differences between these two are even more subtle than between the sable and forester but good field marks include the heaviness of the black bands (thinner and more jagged in the spanworm), the wing fringes (checkered in the spanworm) and the overall amount of white (less white on most black-banded oranges). Photographed near Apple River, NS, on June 20, 2015.

Finally, this is a sharp-lined powder moth, Eufidonia discospilata, not the frequently seen bluish spring moth, Lomographa semiclarata. Both give an overwhelming impression of white-blue that can be easily confused with azure butterflies (Celastrina sp.) but the powder moth is much darker, especially on the upper hindwing, has an easily discernible trio of spots on the upper forewings that are lacking on the spring moth, and the spring moth likes to hold its wings up like flags, rarely flat and parallel to the ground like the powder moth. Also photographed near Apple River, NS, on June 20, 2015. Intriguingly, all three of these confusing diurnal moths were found within about 30 metres (100 feet) of each other.

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