Friday, August 28, 2009

Beautiful critter

Once again, my open window policy has paid off. This curiously patterned moth has been hanging about in my kitchen, where the portable air conditioner requires an open, unscreened window. I'm sure the critter showed up to enjoy the bright lights of Chez GrannyJ.

I had not realized how showy this insect was until it opened its wings. Wow! Time for pictures. After flying about, said moth landed on my left hand, while I somehow managed to get the camera operational with my right. Oops, wings closed. One picture, then two and three. I had to poke at the critter to get it to display its spectacular set of R.E.D. rear wings for this view.

As well as the red and black abdomen. Q: do all moths have those lovely silky hairs where wings meet abdomen? Below, a close up view of the pattern on the wing. Note how the grey color is achieved by alternating lines of black and white scales. Very much like old fashioned newspaper half-tones.

For the record, this particular moth is called the painted tiger moth or, officially, arachnis picta. Why arachnis, which sounds pretty spidery to me, I don't know. Googling, I found physical specs for the critter and plenty of pictures, but nothing about how it makes a living. However, one insect collector in American Fork Canyon, Utah, had posted a splendid series of 12 life-cycle pictures. Starting with a female who laid 400 eggs in the first week of September, subsequent pix followed the caterpillar and pupa stages on to emergence of a new generation of arachnis. Great stuff!

Links for the End of August: The site where I found those pix was most interesting: Insect Net, a network for insect collectors (which means primarily butterflies and beetles, of course.) Forums, photo galleries & videos, news, shopping -- all in one place. While in the realm of nature, a picture from NASA of a curious cloud formation down under in Queensland -- they are called morning glory clouds, though they look more like rolled up crepes. Closer to home, I found a set of Flickr photos of our Citizens Cemetery.

18 comments:

OmegaMom said...

Ooooh! Ahhhh! Purty!

Those are fabulous pics, mamasan!

As for the "morning glory clouds"--obviously they're some sort of new chemtrail. ;-) There's something fishy going on in Queensland...Aliens?

worldphotos4 said...

Super catch. You should have gotten the portable air cooler earlier.

RV-boondocker-explorer said...

Las mariposas are humbled at the sight of your moth.

azlaydey said...

What a beautiful creature. You're so lucky to see it. Nature is wonderfully intriguing!

quilteddogs said...

Extraordinary. Never saw a moth like that before.

Jarart said...

Fantastic little creature! Moths aren't thought of as colorful but this one is just as bright as a butterfly.

Warren said...

wow! Beautiful moth and outstanding pictures of it!

Granny J said...

dotter -- I was quite bowled over when that sedate little moth first opened its wings, as you can imagine. My second reaction was: camera!

steve -- who knows what might have landed in my zoo if I had...

boonie -- no mariposa ever had such silky hairs...

lady -- Nature is full of endless surprises -- one reason I like it/her so much.

qd -- moths tend to be unassuming creatures, even this one -- until the wings were opened. Though that giant that came in through the open window recently is quite spectacular, as is the hawk moth (another tiger moth, BTW).

jarart -- I wonder is it red for a reason, such as warning off predators?

warren -- I sure did a WOW and a double take when first that critter opened its wings.

Jean W said...

Your really did yourself proud with the Tiger Moth pic series (and the link was great too). A great tour de force and enlightening.

Kathleen said...

roflol! That is amazing - glad you could capture those photos while juggling the little critter =)

Granny J said...

jeanw -- thank you ma'am; BTW, I tried to follow your link, but it wouldn't load.

frame -- I was amazed, too. Fortunately, it was on my left hand. I was close to panic lest I blow the chance for the pictures.

Kathleen said...

roflol - that makes me want to go practice taking pictures with my left hand - just in case!

Meggie said...

these photographs are spectacular to me. How wonderful to 'meet' one of these creatures. If we open our eyes, what wonders we can see!
Thankyou for sharing.

Granny J said...

frame -- come to think of it, maybe I should also try to work with the left hand -- I am so dang right-handed that the thought makes me squirm.

meggie -- all iy yook was for this little guy to open his wings. I think that the flash of brilliant red would have caught anybody's eye.

Kathleen said...

hehe - I have, on occasion, used my left hand to draw with, too - Yeah - definitely need to practice that with the camera, too!

Granny J said...

frame -- of course, I didn't mention that my bro is a confirmed lefty. So, one of each in my family.

PS thousand pardons for the typos in my previous answer; should have read "all it took". I really should read & review before I post!

DDD said...

You made some Absolutely Outstanding pictures! Apparently "The larva feeds on Lupinus." see The Moth Book: A Popular Guide To A Knowledge Of The Moths Of North America by W. J. Holland, D.D., Ph. D, Sc. D., L.L.D., Doubleday, 1903.

Granny J said...

ddd -- I was going to remark that we don't have any lupines in the immediate neighborhood, but then recalled that we do have the variety that has inconspicuous flowers. So I guess those would do quite adequately for my little red tiger.

 
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