1st Night of Moth Week

Temple of the Moth

For the first night of moth week I set up lights at my dad’s house in east Vancouver. His yard is mostly grass, with very few weeds. There are 2 Doug-firs and what I think is a shore pine, along with several rhododendrons, in the front, and an apple tree and a blue spruce in the back. But besides the grass the primary botanical feature is that, except for the driveway, his property is ringed by arborvitae. Of course they aren’t native, but I was hoping that some conifer loving moths would have adapted to them, as have several families of Brewers Blackbirds that nest in them. The neighborhood is about 40 years old, but I’m not sure what sort of foliage his neighbors have, though some of it must be mature. Across the street is a  large open area with soccer and baseball fields, and there is a greenbelt about a half mile to the east. 

Dargida procinctus

I set up a sheet tent and a light that runs off a battery in the front yard, and plugged in a couple of AC lights out back with another set of sheets. High temperature for the day was 88⁰ at his house, and it was 75⁰ with a light wind and clear skies at sunset (8:51). By 9:15 some caddisflies, tiny Diptera, and micro moths were showing up, and about 9:25 I found some water boatmen and a green lacewing. The caddisflies and water boatmen are intriguing because the only natural waterway I know of is at least a mile away. At 9:40 I found a very interesting crambid moth and some unknown scarab beetles. 

Water boatman, probably genus Sigara

About 10:10 the wind picked up, and while there were still moths coming in they didn’t settle down. But I did find several unpatterned leaf beetles, and a black click beetle, as well as a couple psyallobora , a huge crane fly, and a large harvestman that immediately picked off a small dipterid. I was getting moths coming in regularly, not big numbers or much diversity, but they were there. By 11pm the temperature was at 69⁰, and the wind was merely fitful, but still with occasional gusts that would rattle the sheets. 

Autographa californica

By midnight the moths were settling down and some different species started to show up. It was 66⁰ at 12:20, with almost no wind. I ended up starting to break down at about 12:45. The temperature was still good, but I realized that I had more than enough specimens for the first night of Moth Week. My preliminary count was 20-25 species of moths for the night, although some are probably too worn to be positively identified. Still, a very respectable start, and some very cool moths, as well as a bunch of other neat bugs.

Green lacewing, probably genus Chrysoperla

Here is a partial list of my moth visitors last night, the ones I’ve identified so far;


Chalcoela iphitalis– 3

Chrysoteuchia topiarius- several, as well as at least two other grass veneer moths I haven’t figured out yet

Elophila obliteralis- several

Udea profundalis- 2


Hemeroplanis historialis- 1

Pyrrharctia Isabella (Isabella Tiger Moth) 


Costaconvexa centrostrigaria-1

Cyclophora dataria– 2

Eupithecia johnstoni- a few

Macaria signaria- a few


Apamea amputatrix- about 10 of these large moths

Apamea devastator- a few

Autographa californica– 1

Cosmia praeacuta- a few

Dargida procinctus (Olive Green Cutworm Moth)

Noctua pronuba (Large yellow underwing)– 1 

Xestia c-nigrum


Nadata gibbosa (White-dotted Prominent)


Cydia pomonella– 2

Hemeroplanis historialis

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