Moth night

The continuing bathroom home repairs are making me groggy, along with my late night out at the "Black Light the Night" event at Texas Discovery Gardens. Planners expected maybe fifteen responses when they sent out an email invitation. Surprise! Two hundred insect-intrigued folks turned out for the free event. That's a lot of people standing around old sheets hung from pvc pipe frames.  

While we waited for dark, we could look at display cases of moths, watch silkworms, hornworms, and sphinx caterpillars munch, listen for Rio Grande chirping frogs, watch bats fly overhead, or wander the gardens. We could have detailed discussions about garden orb spiders with total strangers. Perhaps best was feeling a breeze after a very hot day.

The moths didn't appear until about 9:45. Most were small, some barely larger than gnats.They were easier to see when serious bug guys caught them in specimen jars and turned on flashlights. Then the markings were exquisite, but not camera friendly. Serious bug guys (henceforth SBG) explained about the critter on the middle right. It is a "picture wing fly".

Otitidae - picture-winged flies
Otitidae are called picture-winged flies because most of them have patterns in the wings. They are very common and can be found on logs, brush piles, and leaves. They sometimes hold the wings upright and signal for a mate by waving the wings. 

One SBG explained "sugaring" for moths. Basically, that means painting a sweet and fermented mixture on tree trunks. It was too early for moths to visit, but the bait paint attracted crickets and roaches.He warned that sugaring may stain trees.  

Rio Grande chirping frogs have ridden to Dallas on trucks full of landscaping materials, and established breeding populations out of their normal range. You can hear the chirp at this link.

And at the top of the picture is a stink bug flying away.

© 2013 Nancy L. Ruder


Kathleen said...

Neato! I couldn't attend a recent bat night in our area, but I talked today with someone who did. The kids were thrilled! I wonder if we have a local moth night, too?

Collagemama said...

I hope you find one, Kathleen. It was way cool.