Sunday, May 20, 2012

Eight-spotted Forester

Do you know the difference between a butterfly and a moth? There is actually no simple answer. Both are part of the same order Leidoptera and there are some common differences but since there are exception there is really no accepted hard and fast rule about how to distinguish between them. Some things that you can look at to help determine of a specimen is a moth or butterfly are antennae, wings, pupae, rest state and when they are the most active. 
Butterflies typically have thin antennae with clubs at the end where moths have many different shaped antennae. Many types of moths have fore and hind wings that couple together where butterflies all have 4 distinct wings. Butterflies have a chrysalis pupal stage where many moths spin a silk cocoon. Moths usually rest with their wings flat while many butterflies hold their wings straight up over their thorax when they perch. Butterflies are also mostly diurnal, active during the day, this is because most of them use thermal energy to heat their body. Most moths use wing beats to heat themselves so they are mostly nocturnal. However like all of these hints there are always exceptions. This is an eight-spotted forester moth. It is a diurnal moth that is found through out the eastern half of North America. They usually are in flight from April through June with a second brood in August in the warmer portions of their range. Their larval host plants are Virginia creeper and grapes.

1 comment:

Kateri said...

How cool! I do believe I saw one of these for the first time yesterday. I wasn't able to get a photo. So glad to have come across yours!