Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Leaving Something Else Behind

Our last blog showed the insect collection that we created this summer and are leaving behind.

Early this summer we heard from campers that large "butterflies" could be found near the lights of the restrooms early in the morning. So Teri and I got up early the next morning, and sure enough, found a couple of large silk moths perched near the restrooms in the Whitetail Campground.

They looked much like the Cecropia Moths that we had become familiar with in Texas, but a quick check of the field guide indicated that we were not in their range. The Pacific Northwest has two species of this genus of silk moths, and we determined that these were Ceanothus Moths. Like other large silk moths they live only a few days in the adult form, as they have no mouth and cannot feed.

Ceanothus Moth - Male
It turns out that we had collected a male and a female. The male has larger feathery antenna that he uses to locate the female by detecting her pheromones
Ceanothus Moth - Female
The female has smaller antenna and a plumper abdomen.  This was our first ever attempt to mount insects, and we were lucky to have great big specimens to work with. Even taking great care I managed to break off the tip of the very fragile left antenna. Frustrating!!

We mounted both of the specimens in a nice case with a label. They were very popular during several evening programs and junior ranger activities. Hopefully the park will get many more years of use out of this handsome pair.
Mounted Specimens


  1. Beautiful! And to have both the male and female to display is great. They may live only a few hours, but will "live" a long time in that display case.