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National Un-Moth Week?

This almost was the week that “wasn’t”. I can’t remember a time when I set aside a calendar week for a specific effort (National Moth Week) and soooo many things got in the way. The multitude of hurdles that Everyday Life presented from July 17-24 has been a bit overwhelming, especially for someone like myself who is admittedly poor at multi-tasking. Some of the hurdles were self-imposed (e.g. scheduling non-mothing social events in the evenings—What was I thinking?) and others were out of the blue. The most tragic was that just as NMW began, my beloved Canon SX620 IS point-and-hope camera decided to die. The sensors went haywire and it could no longer figure out what I meant to focus on or what settings to use. I have a couple of inferior back-up cameras which filled the gap, but in the end, I had to place an emergency camera order online—and of course the new hardware won’t arrive until after the end of National Moth Week.

Mother Nature didn’t cooperate fully either. We reeeally can’t complain here in CenTex when we’re having a July with below average temps (up until today) and above average rainfall. That’s all wonderful. But a couple of evenings of NMW were lost due to disruptive thunderstorms. Yeah, I know, “Woe is us.” One ill-timed bolt of lightning caused a very brief power outage at my house; my computer had to restart and then my photo editing software decided it had to check its entire library of 125,000 images for errors. Seven hours later, it finally announced that everything was OK and I could continue editing.

The organizers of NMW need to look more carefully at the lunar calendar. This past night, at the climax of NMW, we had a bright full moon. Rule number one in mothing, from fundamental moth behavior, is that nights with a full moon will end up with poor results at artificial lights. Note To NMW Organizers: Look at the lunar calendar for 2022 and figure out when the New Moon (i.e. no moon) will be in July! That should be your target week.

Here in CenTex with it’s high biodiversity, a really good night of mothing in optimal conditions in Spring or Fall might result in the documentation of something on the order of 100 to 150 species of moths. This past week, in several evenings and mornings of effort over seven calendar days, I may have about 55 species of moths to upload. That might seem high by some standards—Sorry, you folks at more northern latitudes—but by Texas standards, that’s rather pitiful.

In the end, I just have to laugh it all off and assert, “Wait ’til next year!”

Posted by gcwarbler gcwarbler, July 24, 2021 20:11

Observations

Photos / Sounds

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

July 24, 2021 05:19 AM CDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Green Cutworm Moth Anicla infecta

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

July 24, 2021 05:23 AM CDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Bride Underwing Catocala neogama

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

July 24, 2021 05:22 AM CDT

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Garden Tortrix Clepsis peritana

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

July 22, 2021 04:39 AM CDT

Photos / Sounds

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

July 22, 2021 04:48 AM CDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Alamo Moth Condylorrhiza vestigialis

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

July 24, 2021 05:21 AM CDT

Description

Just one all week.

Photos / Sounds

What

Straight-lined Cydosia Moth Cydosia aurivitta

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

July 22, 2021 04:38 AM CDT

Description

I don't see this species often here on Salton Drive.

Photos / Sounds

What

Bicolored Ecdytolopha Moth Ecdytolopha mana

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

July 20, 2021 11:01 PM CDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Magician Moth Hileithia magualis

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

July 17, 2021 10:43 PM CDT

Description

Just one all week.

Photos / Sounds

What

Spotted Beet Webworm Moth Hymenia perspectalis

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

July 19, 2021 10:36 PM CDT

Description

Just one all week.

Photos / Sounds

What

Pannaria Wave Leptostales pannaria

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

July 20, 2021 11:02 PM CDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Royal Poinciana Graphic Melipotis acontioides

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

July 24, 2021 05:18 AM CDT

Description

Only one for the week.

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Cellar Graphic Melipotis cellaris

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

July 20, 2021 05:14 AM CDT

Description

Only one for the week.

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Small Mocis Moth Mocis latipes

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

July 22, 2021 04:38 AM CDT

Description

Only one for the week.

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Obscure Pondweed Moth Parapoynx obscuralis

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

July 20, 2021 05:15 AM CDT

Description

First for Salton Drive; uncommon in the Austin area.

Photos / Sounds

What

Capps' Petrophila Petrophila cappsi

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

July 22, 2021 04:46 AM CDT

Description

Much less common here than Jalisco. Only one for the week.

I also saw some interesting behavior from this moth: Occasionally when a Petrophila moth senses a danger, disturbance, or threat, it will briefly raise or flare its wings and then settle back down. This moth did that behavior repeatedly as some minute little Hymenopteran (presumably a would-be parasitic species) made several quick passes at the moth. I managed to capture one moment of that interaction on video. I'm still trying to figure out how to upload a short clip of that edited video.

Photos / Sounds

What

Jalisco Petrophila Petrophila jaliscalis

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

July 22, 2021 04:37 AM CDT

Photos / Sounds

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

July 20, 2021 11:01 PM CDT

Description

Only one for the week.

Photos / Sounds

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

July 17, 2021 10:40 PM CDT

Photos / Sounds

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

July 24, 2021 05:21 AM CDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Banded Scythris Moth Scythris trivinctella

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

July 22, 2021 04:50 AM CDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Snowy Urola Moth Urola nivalis

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

July 24, 2021 05:26 AM CDT

Description

Only individual all week.

Comments

LOL, I can't but laugh!

Posted by annikaml about 2 months ago (Flag)

Sorry for your bummer of a moth week. I was wondering about that full moon.

BTW, before the last Timberlake gathering, I bought a new point and shoot camera (same model) just in case mine crashed. For some reason, I was a bit apprehensive about my Canon. It is probably about time for me to go ahead and change out.
Thanks your your post. Sorry, but your woes had me smiling....

Posted by connlindajo about 2 months ago (Flag)

Man, I'd say you've had your troubles for the year! So the rest of it should be clear sailing, right? To better times ahead!

Posted by jcochran706 about 2 months ago (Flag)

I've got a big smile on this statement, Chuck:
"Rule number one in mothing, from fundamental moth behavior, is that nights with a full moon will end up with poor results at artificial lights."
Maddin Prairie says "hold my beer." ;)
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?d1=2021-08-21&d2=2021-08-22&place_id=111150&taxon_id=47157&view=species

Posted by sambiology 12 days ago (Flag)

Chuck, your 124 species observed at Maddin Prairie looks pretty impressive to me!

Posted by connlindajo 12 days ago (Flag)

Sam, Rule number 1A: "Nights with a full moon produce poor results for mothing except if you're in Mitchell County, TX, accompanied by @sambiology and have 12 moths stations scattered over a 1/4 mile of prairie monitored by a bevy of enthusiastic iNatters."

Posted by gcwarbler 11 days ago (Flag)

Ooooooooh. I forgot to read that fine print. ;)
I actually am 'lol'ing. :)

Posted by sambiology 11 days ago (Flag)

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