There are several sites for moth-ers on the web - see moth links, including one within The Mulberrywing. This was created and is maintained by Steve Walter. His "Moth of the Week" section was an inspiration for this website. Between our two sites, you should be able to get a feel of the moths through the seasons from New York (his area) and Connecticut. The others sites can be found on the Links page.
I suppose that at some point I should mention that I have a book out on moths. It is called "Discovering Moths, Nighttime Jewels in Our Yards" and was published in the fall of 2002 with Downeast Books. The book is filled with stories of moths, moth watching and moth watchers. It's written for the general public and anyone who enjoys the pursuit of wild creatures and is illustrated with my photos and line drawings.
So what's this all about?____________________________________________________
To put it simply, I like moths. Always did, always will. Over the years I have been recording their comings and goings in my yard in Killingworth, Connecticut (USA), and have traveled to the northern and southern ends of the continent in search of them. To date, this yard in a little rural town has provided over 800 of the 2,600 some odd species in my state. Considerably more actually, if you count all the ones I couldn't identify.
Since I am not a collector, I choose to record their presence with photographs. Up until October 2001, I've done so with slide film. Then I went and got myself a Nikon Coolpix 990 (digital camera) and the fun really started! When one enjoys something, that enjoyment is often enhanced when it is shared with others. That, I guess, is the purpose of this website. Also, I make my living as an author and illustrator and I see these electronic pages as just another medium with which to tell stories. While the term might not have been in the mainstream when I started this, I suppose it could be called a blog - on moths.
Many of the moths pictured were attracted to a blacklight* and sheet strung up on my shed. I only run it a couple nights a week (if even) to avoid interrupting the activities of the moths in the area. Quite often a search around the light area finds them resting in a natural position, which is how I prefer to shoot them. Sometimes I just stick them where I want them. Moths can be good that way. Many can be handled in the cool hours of the morning without sending them off flying.
As the season progresses, I paint some trees with sugar/beer bait. This also brings in the moths, in fact, some species are not attracted to light but will come to this invitation. This technique allows you to enjoy your quarry while giving them something back in return.
*The blacklight I use is a "de-zappified" bug zapper. With the electrocuting grid disconnected, it makes an excellent moth attractor. I can't take credit for this idea - it comes from a lepidopterist named Bob Muller, who, while on a mothing trip in Florida, was desperate for a solution when a raccoon knocked over his light set-up.
Bug zappers are terrible inventions that kill night flying insects indiscriminately! They do not kill mosquitoes (which are attracted to heat and CO2 ) and should be banned. They actually kill the predators of mosquitoes (adult forms of aquatic skeeter-hunters), moths and small amphibians that are attracted to the moths at the light.
Light sheet (with "de-zappified" bug zapper)
Painting beer bait on tree
The way it seems to be going now is I am adding about a moth every month or so to the site. Sometimes I'll add a few a week. At this point, that's a comfortable pace. It also makes me think harder about which moth I choose to post. I would like to have as many families represented as possible and I think this will occur naturally as I continue to photograph the moths that interest me. I will also continue to include caterpillars and cocoons as they appear in the yard and surrounding area.
I also wrote and illustrated a children's book called "A Luna Moth's Life" (Scholastic/Children's Press). You can find more info at most online bookstores, your local bookstore, or at my homepage.
Lastly, one of the simple joys in life is sitting out in the woods by a moth light, enjoying a couple of beers with good friends and talking about everything under the stars. The glowing sheet becomes a mere backdrop to this activity. When a new moth turns up, we stop and enjoy it. I guess we're kind of doing that now at this site. There may be no stars on your ceiling, but at this very moment there could be others enjoying the perusal of the nocturnal leps pictured here. And hey, how far can that fridge be?