Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Current Moth Obsession - Post 3 The family SATURNIIDAE

Luna moth (Actias luna)

Our friends, the Luna Moths are members of the family Saturniidae, which includes the world's largest moths. Saturniids are usually large moths with large feathery antennae that live for only short periods once they reach the adult stage (most of them lack mouths).

To find out more about this family, check out this WIKI article

Small Emperor Moth (Saturnia pavonia)

Io moth (Automeris io)

Imperial Moth (Eacles imperialis)

Rosy Maple Moth (Dryocampa rubicunda)

Rosy Maple Moth relaxing after a night at the club

Citheronia splendens

Citheronia up close and curious about your new IPOD

Current Moth Obsession - Post 2 The Face of the Luna Moth (Actias luna)

This gorgeous and large moth (up to 4 1/2 in.) is fairly well known by people interested in nature in North America, but we seldom take the time to really look at their little faces. As with most of the Lepidoptera (Moths and Butterflies), most of us tend to gaze at the wings and not look much further. Here's a gallery of Luna Moths, taking a closer look beneath the wings. You will notice a complete lack of a mouth, as Lunas only live for about a week once they metamorphose into adults and therefore don't ever feed... concentrating on reproduction.

This Luna disapproves of your choice of St. Augustine grass. It really isn't enviro-friendly, and the concept of lawns is so gauche.

Moths rely on their extremely sensitive antennae for chemo-reception (smell). Males have larger and more expansive antennae, as exemplified in this photo.

Chemoreception needs to be acute, as moths attract each other (often over great distances) using pheromones released into the air.

As with most moths, Lunas are more active at night, as the large eyes attest. They may still be seen during the day, however.

"Dude, I'm not pointing at you, its just what they do!"

A freshly emerged (from its cocoon) Luna Moth pumps fluid into its wings from its body, so that they may expand to full size and be used for flight. The whole process may take 2-4 hrs.

2 Lunas discuss the newly emerging linguistic trends in social networking sites.

"Dude, this chick totally smells like pachuli (sp?) and cheetos!"

Love is in the air, in the whisper of the wind. Love is in the airrrrrr... or perhaps just the biological imperative to pass on one's genetic code. Who's to say?


Current Moth Obsession - Post 1 Moth Blog

North American Moths

* Really, come on, how many moth blogs are there? She does an exceptional job of covering a vastly under-appreciated group of animals.

Friday, September 18, 2009


My friend Nicholas sent me this pic of a Badger party in someone's backyard. The European Badger (Meles meles) is found across most of Europe. Unlike the American Badger (Taxidea taxus), which is an aggressive carnivore, the European Badger is a much more docile and omnivorous (eating plants and animals) creature.

Anuran Spotlight: MEULLER'S TERMITE FROG (Dermatonotus meulleri)

Meuller's Termite Frog is found in a variety of habitats where water is readily available for at least part of the year in areas of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia.

Like most of the other species in the family Microhylidae (the Narrowmouths), Termite frogs have small mouths on pointy snouts that serve them well in their diet of Termites and Ants.

Another distinctive characteristic of this family is the nuchal fold (neck fold) behind the head. For other members of this family, see Tomato Frogs and Malayan Painted Toads in earlier frog posts.

This is a common frog throughout its range, but is usually seen during rains when they come out in great numbers to breed in temporary and permanent bodies of water.

A frog in the hand beats 2 in the... never mind. This shows us the relative size of a large female. (Do we remember that usually female frogs are larger than males?)

This is a fossorial (burrowing) species, that would rather stay in an listen to some jazz and drink Chiraz than go out and carry on at the club with you.

"I'm not being judgmental. I just don't like Lady Gaga, that's all... what look on my face?"

An under view of the Meuller's. It's okay, they ain't shy.

A close up view of the hind foot of the Termite Frog shows the strong toes for digging. The extended digit of many Microhylids often wiggle when they hunt; possibly to distract or attract their insect prey.

As with many frogs and toads that spend the majority of time buried, Meuller's is an explosive breeder. This means that the entire population in a given area will breed en masse all at the same time, flooding the area with their offspring. This strategy for breeding ensures some safety in numbers for the tadpoles and toadlets.

One of my favorite frogs (the species not this individual) hides among the leaves of a forest floor with an unknown species of the family Ranidae (the True Frogs) after a rain.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

5 Small Cat Species I Bet You Ain't Never Heard of Before Neither

(I'm too distracted to write anything more today. Enjoy the cats.)

1. Pampas Cat (Leopardus pajeros)

Found in the Pampas region of Chile and Argentina.

2. Iriomote Cat (Mayailurus iriomotensis)

Very rare, found only on the small Japanese island of Iriomote.

3. Jaguarundi (Herpailurus yaguaroundi)

Found from SW U.S. to central South America.

4. Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus)

Found throughout SE Asia.

5. Pallas's Cat (Otocolobus manul)

Found in the steppes, grasslands, region of Central Asia.