Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Top 12 of 2012, Backyard Moths

2012 was pretty crappy in the way of my freelance business but it was a pure gold mine in the way of moths. My plan for Moth Season 2012 was pretty simple, set up a station 3-4 nights out of the week & record the species that showed up. While getting bored of just photographing them on the sheet in 2011, I did what any photographer would do and built a small portable studio. It is pretty fancy and cost a whole 20 dollars to make, unless you add in the cost of strobes.

My backyard moth station consists of a 400 Watt Mercury Vapor Light, a Queen Size white sheet and a lot of containers. The studio is make out of an old box, which I designed after a swoop table, one flash over the top and one flat panel flash under the white background. This sits right near the light on an old card table I picked up at a yard sale.

Using this system and my new light which was nicknamed MorningStar, I was able to photograph over 300 species of moths in my backyard alone. This count excludes Micro Moths and add in another 200 for field trips & moth nights elsewhere. Now not all of these moths were "lifers" but I like to reset my count every year. I feel that it is a fun way to keep me in tune with what's flying and also keep a population count or a high count for individual moth species per year.

So hear are some of my favorite moth visitors from 2012, in Latin Alphabetical Order.

1. Agrotis ipsilon - Ipsilon Dart (Male)

2. Amphipyra pyramidoides - Copper Underwing

3. Anicla infecta - Green Cutworm Moth

4. Anomis privata - Hibiscus Leaf Caterpillar Moth

5. Atteva aurea - Ailanthus Webworm Moth

6. Ceratomia amyntor - Elm Sphinx

7. Ceratomia catalpae - Catalpa Sphinx

8. Cisseps fulvicollis - Yellow-collared Scape Moth

9. Hypena baltimoralis - Baltimore Hypena

10. Hypena madefactalis - Gray-edged Bomolocha

11. Marathyssa inficita - Dark Marathyssa

12. Zale lunata - Lunate Zale

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