Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pale Beauty

Yesterday, while exploring a woods in Miami County, Ohio, I came across an exquisite little moth. It's there, in this photo, but it blends rather well with its surroundings. Click the photo for an enlargement, and you'll see it at rest on the withered remnants of a May-apple leaf.

Like so many moths, this one was well worth stopping to inspect. Confident in its crypsis, or camouflage, this Pale Beauty, Campaea perlata, didn't as much as twitch even when I poked near with my macro lens. Its whitish background color is suffused with a light tint of emerald, and the hindwings are scalloped like a leaf. The overall effect is stunning, although to most the moth would be a tiny fluttering blur in the corner of the eye as it was kicked from cover.

Pale Beauties are not rare, and their caterpillars feed on a wide variety of common woody plants. They are probably in a forest near you.


Andrew Lane Gibson said...

Jim, you spend some time in my home county and don't give me a ring? I'm hurt! Kidding of course, but Miami county has more to offer the nature inclined than most know. There's some real gems!

Jim McCormac said...

Hi Andrew, sorry about that - it was a whirlwind trip into the county with a colleague who is researching ginseng. But I'd agree - gems galore in the county, and I've spent many an hour there botanizing, and finding good stuff!

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