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Admit it: moths are cute

Insect Appreciation Month wrapped up yesterday, and with it, NCLC’s month-long insect bioblitz on iNaturalist. Sixteen observers took part, collectively racking up 1,333 observations.

Among them were a number of moths (not coincidentally, the third week of Insect Appreciation Month is National Moth Week), and among those moths was a first-in-Oregon: the common emerald (Hemithea aestivaria), spotted and photographed by Eric Ostrander in Cannon Beach. It’s unmistakable, according to bioblitz master of ceremonies Mike Patterson, and not the least bit common in these parts. It had been seen in Puget Sound and as far south as the Long Beach Penninsula, but not previously across the Columbia River.

David Bailey found a Scoliopteryx libatrix moth whose common name is the herald—”because they know they look good,” was Mike’s explanation of the name. “They tend to pose.” David spotted this herald on the west-facing outside wall of Costco in Warrenton. “I thought at first it was a dead leaf that had become stuck to the wall after being windblown onto a spiderweb there,” David said. “I had passed it by once already before realizing it was really a moth.” David made most of his 264 insect observations during his daily 30-minute lunch and two 15-minute breaks from his job as a cashier at Costco.

Next on the Moth Hit Parade: A Virginia tiger moth (Spilosoma virginica), photographed by Lee Cain south of Astoria, which inspired this comment from Mike Patterson: “One of the things about moths, when you really start looking at them: they’re cute. They’re like tiny, miniature stuffed animals.”

Photo: Lee Cain

The single-dotted wave (Idaea dimidiata) was the most commonly reported moth; this one was shot by Lee Cain south of Astoria. Lee racked up the second-most number of observations (behind Mike).

Here is Mike’s complete wrap-up of Insect Appreciation Week 2020. For more of Mike’s videos on this topic, visit the Joining iNaturalist page on our website.




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