Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Toothed Phigalia Moth - Phigalia denticulata


Toothed Phigalia Moth (Male)
(Photo:  Marvin Smith on 1/20/10)


They say the early bird catches the worm. I'm not sure what this early species of moth is trying to catch. Maybe it's trying to give its larvae first choice at the opening leaves of deciduous trees? A Toothed Phigalia was the first moth of the new year I saw here this year and last. In fact, it's likely that Phigalia denticulata (or another Philgalia sp.) will be the first moth seen throughout their range. Being early is the one remarkable feature of this common and fairly nondescript moth. Adult P. denticulata fly from December to April in the south; late March and April in the north.

Range: Ontario and New York to Florida, west to Texas, north to Missouri; also recorded in Utah.

Reproduction: The general rule for moths is: Males find the females. This is especially true for this genus of moths because females have only tiny nub-like wings and are flightless. (A photo of a female Phigalia titea is here.)

Source: BugGuide Species Page





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19 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Darn, thought I was going to get to see Moth Teeth. tee hee.... I haven't seen any insects around here yet. Unless I count the tiny ants that must be living in one of the pots I brought in this fall. THey come roaming around my computer each day. I can't count how many I have... ummm...liberated from this space.

John said...

Nice moth! I still haven't identified my first of the year.

Marvin said...

Lisa: Our winter weather fluctuates so much the insects are often fooled into thinking it's spring. A few days back I saw a dozen or so honey bees. They were feeding in the compost pile because there are no flowers.

Marvin said...

John: All out moths and other insects had better get back to overwintering as our temperatures are forecast to dip into the low teens again.

√ Abraham Lincoln said...

Yes, the swallows eat a ton of insects each year. I sat at the farm one day and watched the swallows from the barn make countless trips from their mud nests to swoop over the expanse of lawn at grass blade level scooping up the bugs as they flew. It is a nature farm we go to. You can learn a lot from places like that or at least we do.

The moths are nice to see. I captured a sort of rare one last summer. I forget the name of it but I spent a long time on the Bug Net looking for it.

You got a good macro shot of this one.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Now there's a moth only a "moth guy" could love! Taking photos though, I must admit, has a way of making us all take a closer look and be surprisingly "Wowed!" Lots of rain up your way this year, no?

Lana Gramlich said...

I'd love to examine those patterns under an electron microscope or something...
The photo makes me think of the moth in jail, swearing that he didn't do it (whatever "it" is.)

Marvin said...

Abe: Were it not for BugGuide, I'd get very few of my moth photos identified.

Marvin said...

Robert: 2009 rainfall in Arkansas broke totals that have stood for over 100 years. Up here in the north central part of the state, we were only 16" or so above average. Central and southern Arkansas were even wetter.

Marvin said...

Lana: LOL Yes, the background of most of my moth photos is really pitiful - a few are on the window screen while most are on the house siding. I guess I should hang some kind of sheet or cloth under our porch light to improve the background a bit.

eileeninmd said...

The patterns on the moth are cool looking. Great photo!.

A piece of news said...

I'm always surprised at how pretty moths are.

Carver said...

What an interesting looking moss and a great shot of it.

laughingwolf said...

a little vampire with all those teeth? :O lol

KaHolly said...

What a beauty!! Have you been to this site?: http://moths.wordpress.com/

Stine in Ontario said...

I guess I won't be seeing ay for a few moths yet! Too cold!

Marvin said...

Karen: Yes, it's one of the great moth sites.

ramblingwoods said...

My new project this season will be to find, photograph and identify moths in my western NY yard. This looks very familiar, but some of them look very similar. Wonderful macro as the detail is very good. Thank you for linking your wonderful nature blog to Nature Notes Marvin. Michelle

Marvin said...

Michelle: I ignored all but the most spectacular moths for several years because there are so many moths and many are difficult to tell apart. I still must rely on BugGuide for most of my IDs, but I'm starting to recognize a few more species. Good luck with your moth project.