Sunday, August 07, 2011

Always an opportunity for a new discovery

I am always ready to see something new, and this week I saw two new-to-me bugs! I spent quite a few hours at the arboretum this past week, scouting for bugs for our bug safari tour that we had yesterday.

Crab spider
First, I found this pretty little crab spider. I'm pretty sure it's genus Mecaphesa.

Petrophila
Then, I saw this moth on the side of the pavilion classroom. I had never seen it before, and then I saw 2 more nearby.

Petrophila
This one was on the bridge right by the front entrance.

How do you look up a moth when you don't really know what kind it is? I just go to BugGuide, and try to find moths of about the same size and shape, and take it from there. Sometimes it takes a long time, but sometimes, like this time, I get lucky.

This is genus Petrophila, which means "water-loving", and it turns out the caterpillars are aquatic!  They live in fast-moving streams and eat the algae on rocks.  Two of the moths I found were on the bridge, right by the arboretum's waterfall.  That's our fastest-moving water. So they have a little micro-habitat there!   I thought that was pretty cool, and a very pretty little moth.
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