I hope you enjoy taking a closer look at some of the things I find interesting.
- North America (155)
- South America (171)
- Amphibians (10)
- Frogs and Toads (10)
- Arachnids (41)
- Fungi (3)
- Insects (215)
- Ants, Bees, Wasps and Relatives (44)
- Barklice (1)
- Beetles (27)
- Butterflies and Moths (55)
- Cockroaches (2)
- Dragonflies (1)
- Earwigs (1)
- Flies (20)
- Grasshoppers and Relatives (9)
- Mantids (3)
- Net-winged Insects (7)
- Termites (5)
- Thrips (1)
- True Bugs (57)
- Walkingsticks (1)
- Webspinners (1)
- Mammals (2)
- Millipedes (1)
- Polyxenids (1)
- Plants (3)
- Reptiles (13)
- Velvet Worms (3)
- Amphibians (10)
I found quite a few cocoons like the one shown above. They all had openings where the moths or parasitoids had emerged. I didn’t spot any hairy caterpillars that might be responsible for them. Here are a few more examples of the cocoons.
This is the largest bagworm I’ve ever seen. The twigs look like they’ve been cut up by a beaver. It was empty, so a moth must have already emerged. I know it’s a bagworm because later in the trip I found another one that still had a caterpillar in it. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me.
Did you find the hidden moth in the last crypsis challenge? If not, here’s where it was hidden.
In natural light it blended in quite well. With a flash though, it really pops out.
I thought the eyespot was interesting and I managed to get a closeup before the moth took off.
I expected this would be an easy challenge. All commenters correctly mentioned the moth. Good job, everyone!
Did you guess that the caterpillar above was the critter featured in Identification Challenge #13? Both commenters for this challenge were on the right track, guessing that it was a caterpillar. Here’s the photo again from the challenge.
Here’s an even closer look at the proleg so I can point out a few interesting things.
All those little claws on the proleg are called crochets. This particular species, Apatelodes torrefacta, is one of just a handful of species in my area that belong to the family Bobycidae. The most famous member of that family is the domesticated silkworm moth. One feature of caterpillars in this family is that they have crochets of two different lengths, as shown above.
Did you find the moth in the image above? If not, don’t feel bad. I might not have seen it either, except I originally spotted the moth in a more conspicuous location. After a few shots (below), I deliberately spooked it in hopes that it would land in a location suitable for a crypsis challenge. Here’s an outline if you still need a little help finding it.
Here’s where I originally spotted it. Not blending in so well, is it?
This moth’s shape suggests it might be in the family Tortricidae. It’s small, only about 15mm measured lengthwise in the photo below.
This pretty little moth was sitting on a leaf, imitating a bird dropping perhaps. A tortricid?
I have no idea what kind of moth this is, but I like its attempt to look very unlike a moth.
I’ve been struggling to find time to prepare some longer posts. Here’s a quick post in the meantime. I like the way this little moth is holding its hind legs up flush with its abdomen.
This was the first subject I found after starting along the coastal trail in Cahuita National Park. There were dozens of these little moths on some sort of plant that was prevalent along the coastal trail. When I spotted the first one, I thought perhaps it was a leafhopper. It was only after seeing one up close that I realized it was a moth, and a spectacularly colored one at that.
I’m amazed at how well the forewing and hindwing patterns line up. While clearly two wings toward the tail end, you can barely make out the division between them elsewhere. As for what purpose this pattern serves, I’m stumped. They stand out well on the foliage, so it’s hard to imagine it provides camouflage. Perhaps these are warning colors, but why then the intricate pattern towards the rear? It might be a false eye sort of thing to distract attention away from the important end. And the two red bands do look kind of like legs, if the thing were facing the opposite direction.
All commenters correctly determined that this was a moth:
At the time I took the picture, I assumed this was a butterfly. It acted like a butterfly, being active during the day and the way it held its wings (not folded over the back like many moths).
It was only when reviewing the photo later that I noticed it looked a bit odd for a butterfly. Like many commenters, I noted the lack of clubbed antennae. I didn’t try to identify it, but I remembered it when I read an interesting short article in a recent issue of Natural History magazine. The article was all about day flying moths in the subfamily Dioptinae (family Notodontidae). I emailed the author, James S. Miller, asking if he thought this might be one. Here’s his response: