ארכיון יומן של יוני 2024

יוני 13, 2024

Moths at Natural Falls State Park

I camped at Natural Falls State Park with my family the weekend of May 31 - June 2. Natural Falls State Park is located in northeast Oklahoma, directly east of Tulsa along Hwy 412 directly just 6 miles from the Arkansas border. It lies within the Ozark Highlands ecoregion. Our campsite was in a mixed Pine and Oak forest, with a small open grassy area and also a deep ravine nearby. For the two nights we were there I set up my lights and sheets and recorded a total of 207 species of moths, with a surprising 38 which were new to me! You can see all of my moth observations from the state park here, but I will highlight a few below. All pictures should link to the observations.

Note: When I refer to "state records" this means that I have not been able to find any previous records of that species in the state of Oklahoma looking on iNaturalist, BugGuide.net, or Moth Photographer's Group.

First is an Oklahoma state record which is stunning and was present in good numbers: Dark-banded Geometer (Gandaritis atricolorata)

Next is Green Leuconycta (Leuconycta diphteroides), which was also present in good numbers. This moth has been recorded before in Oklahoma, but was new to me.

The Drab Condylolomia (Condylolomia participialis) was another state record that was present in good numbers. This moth is in the same subfamily of Scaly-legged Pyralids (Chrysauginae) as the Olive Arta, Posturing Arta, Boxwood Leaftier, and a few others I've seen and am more familiar with.

The Tulip Tree Beauty (Epimecis hortaria) was new to me, but not a state record. This is a large and nicely patterned geometer with quite a bit of variation. I think I saw three different individuals over the two nights and they were each distinct.

Amphipoea erepta is a state record and one of those ultra rarities. It is a macro moth of average Noctuid size, and yet there is only one other observation of this species on iNaturalist. There are a handful of observations on both BugGuide and MPG, but none in Oklahoma. I'm curious why this species is so uncommon even though it has a large distribution. BugGuide reports that the host plant is Eastern Gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides).

Suzuki's Promalactis (Promalactis suzukiella) is an introduced species in North America, originating in Asia. It's been spreading throughout the country, but this was a state record for Oklahoma. When I saw it I snapped a quick picture or two while it was on the move, but then it flew up and I lost it. I searched for it for a while and kept my eyes peeled, but couldn't ever relocate it, which is a real shame since I didn't get great focus on the two pictures I did get. Oh well.

I saw a good number of this undescribed species of Hypsopygia. I had just become aware of this species a few days before my trip when I spent some time looking through moth observations in the tristate area of Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. I was happy to get numerous photos of this species at this location so that when it is formally described the distribution information will be that much more complete.

I saw a good number of Ozark Petrophila (Petrophila hodgesi), which I had seen before in Arkansas, but not in Oklahoma. These are really good mimics of jumping spiders.

Caloptilia packardella is a real beauty. I've always liked this genus and have seen a total of 8 species, but this was a new one for me.

The Large Clover Casebearer (Coleophora trifolii) was a clear standout with it's dripping gold appearance. I saw three other distinct moths from the same genus, two of which I'm unsure about the identification. Anyone want to take a look at these two below?

Possibly Coleophora tiliaefoliella

unknown Coleophora

I saw a good assortment of underwings, including the above Ultronia Underwing (Catocala ultronia). This species (maybe specifically this specimen) has an uncommonly strong contrast on the forewings, whereas many underwings have more subtle markings and blend in well on bark.

Charming Underwing (Catocala blandula) - a state record

Sordid Underwing (Catocala sordida) - another state record

Most of my moth observations are made at the lit sheets, but I did go walking around, looking at leaves on trees and shrubs nearby, checking for caterpillars. At one point I ran across this tiny moth and snapped a few pictures (unfortunately overexposed). I thought it might be a species of Aristotelia, but it is an unfamiliar species from an unfamiliar family. This is Dryadaula visaliella, another state record.

I saw several Daggers (Acronicta genus) which I haven't been able to identify. That's a tough genus for me and every time I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of it I see a moth that upends my confidence. If anyone cares to take a stab at identifying mine, here are the ones I saw over the weekend. I believe there are at least three species represented in those pictures.

I had four of the bigger macro moths which are always stunning to see. None of them were new for me, but they're always fun to see.

Rosy Maple Moth (Dryocampa rubicunda)

Io Moth (Automeris io)

Bisected Honey Locust (Syssphinx bisecta)

Giant Leopard Moth (Hypercompe scribonia)

הועלה ב-יוני 13, 2024 09:26 אחה"צ על ידי zdufran zdufran | 7 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

יוני 14, 2024

Upcoming moth nights - and an irruption of Pyraustas?

I wanted to make sure everyone is aware of these upcoming public moth nights around the state:

Saturday, June 15 - Ruby Grant Park in Norman
Saturday, June 22 - Oxley Nature Center in Tulsa
Saturday, July 27 - Lake Wister State Park in southeast Oklahoma

Each moth night will begin around 9 pm.
If you have any questions about details of locations, please reach out to me.

2024 Irruption?

Most people know the word "irruption" (or more often "eruption") in reference to volcanos. In ecology the word "irruption" means a sudden increase in an animal population. I first learned this word in the birding world when one year we would have a high number of an otherwise uncommon bird in our area. For instance, one winter we were seeing a bunch of Mountain Bluebirds in central Oklahoma. Prior to that year, Mountain Bluebirds were pretty much unheard of in central Oklahoma, and a rarity in western Oklahoma.

This year I have noticed a few different moth species in higher than usual numbers, so I thought I would mention this for historical reference, if nothing else. This year we have seen a lot of Forage Loopers, but that is already a pretty common moth in Oklahoma, so I wouldn't classify this as an irruption. The species that has really stood out for me is the Yellow-banded Pyrausta (Pyrausta pseuderosnealis). As of June 14, there have been 43 observations of this species in the state. Last year there were only 5 for the whole year!

As for why this is occurring, it's hard to say. My guess would be that the host plant for this species had a very good year last year, resulting in more caterpillars making it to maturity, resulting in more adults this year. But there's a whole host of questions that opens up.

הועלה ב-יוני 14, 2024 02:46 אחה"צ על ידי zdufran zdufran | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

יוני 25, 2024

Epic moth night at Oxley Nature Center!

On Saturday, June 22 we held a Moth Night at Oxley Nature Center in Tulsa. This was the largest event I have been involved in, with around 80 people in attendance. This is thanks to the large network of nature enthusiasts that attend events at Oxley and the promotion they did for this event. We had 5 observing stations setup and had some great finds for the evening, even though we were dealing with a nearly full moon, which was competing with our artificial lights. It looks like we tallied right around 100 species of moths for the evening.

It was really good to meet some people in person with whom I have only been acquainted virtually through iNaturalist or Facebook.
Bob Webster (@xpda)
Ben Gruver (@myxfit)
Lisa (@lmm3629)
Lynn Michael (@zebraweeds)
Mathew Radford (@mathewradford27)

And I think we even got a few new people hooked on mothing, right Mathew!?!

Our moth highlight of the night was probably the Pink-striped Oakworm Moth (Anisota virginiensis).

Another good sighting was this Brindled Shawl, which Rick Parker photographed. It's the first one submitted in Oklahoma on iNaturalist. +1 for the state inventory

Shortly before we packed up for the night this male Giant Stag Beetle (Lucanus elaphus) captured everyone's attention and admiration.

All submitted observations from the evening can be seen here.

We'll definitely be back for another moth night at Oxley Nature Center!

הועלה ב-יוני 25, 2024 09:30 אחה"צ על ידי zdufran zdufran | 2 תגובות | הוספת תגובה