|A mothing tent set -up|
This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend the late night Annual Moth Ball in Athol, Massachusetts. For more than twelve years, the Athol Bird and Nature Club has hosted this incredible mothing event at the home of the club’s president Dave Small and his wife Shelley. It brings together all types of naturalists, from biology students learning more about the world of insects, to those who have been identifying moths for more than 50 years, to young children seeing their very first Luna Moth. Everyone can marvel at the amazing shapes and colors of our New England moths.
The evening started at 9:00pm, and as many folks filtered in and out for the following hours, so did the moths. The night started slowly; among the tiny micromoths we successfully attracted other types of insects. Right from the start, there were many caddisflies, and an impressive fishfly. After 2-3 years living as aquatic larvae, fishfly emerge as adults to use their new wings to find mates and are very attracted to lights.
|Rosy Maple Moth|
The Rosy Maple Moths arrived early on. Common in New England, their bright yellow and pink markings make them a favorite. The thousands of scales that cover the wings of moths and butterflies give them their color which also inspires their scientific name: Lepidoptera or “scale wing”.
|Adult Luna Moth|
|Male Luna Moth, showing "feathery" antennae|
With their chunky bodies and interesting wings, sphinx moths are a definite highlight. This Virginia Creeper Sphinx stayed front and center for most of the night. Sphinx moths get their name from their defensive posture as caterpillars; they raise their thorax and tilt their heads resembling a sphinx statue.
|Virginia Creeper Sphinx Moth|
If you are curious about how you can start doing this at home, visit our mothing station during our annual Incredible Insect Festival on Saturday, July 6th, 2019 and come join us for a late night exploring the world of moths and other night time fliers.
At VINS this July, you can attend our new late-night Mothing Adventures. The first event will be on the night of July 6th, after a day of exploring the Incredible Insect Festival. Folks of all ages are invited to join us from 9pm-11pm.
Our second event will be during National Moth Week, a global citizen science project that is identifying moths around the world to learn more about their distribution and natural history. Join us July 20th for another opportunity to observe these special creatures!