Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Artful camouflage

Find the moth! It's right there, in the exact center of the photo. In a recent foray in southern Ohio, we flushed a decent-sized brownish moth, and I tracked its course. When it lit on the bark of a nearby tree, it was rendered nearly invisible.

This is major camo. The moth in question is one of the myriad Geometrid moths; this particular one is called the Tulip Tree Beauty, Epimecis hortaria. They are bark mimics, and obviously blend well with woody substrates.

A closer look. The photo is sharp; clear as a bell and frame-filling. Nevertheless, the moth is still hard to differentiate from the bark.

Ohio has an estimated 2,500 species of moths, and that's enough to provide a real challenge for those wanting to learn a new group. Most are nocturnal and obscure, but often beautiful and interesting upon inspection.


Cathy said...

No way. That is truly unbelievable and boggles the mind if one starts to contemplate the oceans of time required for this moth to acquire that perfect camouflage.

Anonymous said...

Just found one cutting a striking silhouette on our window screen here in southeastern PA. Glad to find the ID on your page!

Hannah and Pam said...

We also found one on our window screen in Ohio. It stayed on even when the wind was blowing.