National Moth Week: check out local microfauna

Hydriomena irata is part of a large group called carpet moths distinguished by intricate camouflage markings. Most specimens reported are from western Canada.

Hydriomena irata is part of a large group called carpet moths distinguished by intricate camouflage markings. Most specimens reported are from western Canada.

Most area moths are small, with wingspans of about an inch. But catching them with a digital camera macro lens gives us an opportunity to see their intricate, beautiful and sometimes bizarre details up close. Little is known about Alaska’s moths, so this area may harbor some biological rarities.

-Photo by Shana Loshbaugh

-Photo by Shana Loshbaugh

This little beauty is called a “bordered pug,” scientific name Eupithecia succenturiata. It feeds on a variety of plants including angelica and yarrow.

This little beauty is called a “bordered pug,” scientific name Eupithecia succenturiata. It feeds on a variety of plants including angelica and yarrow.

-Photo by Shana Loshbaugh

-Photo by Shana Loshbaugh

This moth, species undetermined, is part of a group called noctuid or owlet moths. When they first emerge as adults, they look furry and have tufts on their backs, as did this one. Some caterpillars from this group are agricultural pests, known as cutworms, that eat plants in the cabbage family.

This moth, species undetermined, is part of a group called noctuid or owlet moths. When they first emerge as adults, they look furry and have tufts on their backs, as did this one. Some caterpillars from this group are agricultural pests, known as cutworms, that eat plants in the cabbage family.

-Photo by Shana Loshbaugh

-Photo by Shana Loshbaugh

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