Large Tolype
Tolype velleda
September 5, 2002

For this moth, I've chosen to 
print an expert from the chapter
"Seasons of the Moth" in my 
book "Discovering Moths".
... And then, it returns, the one I have been eagerly awaiting - Tolype velleda, or the Large Tolype.  If there were to be just one moth on this planet, and I had some say in it, this shaggy sheepdog would be well up in the running.  A relative of the Lappet Moth, the Large Tolype shares that same sleepy characteristic.  It remains in place well into the following night, resting, unmoving - apparently unaware of its surroundings.  It is like a furry little white and gray stuffed animal that you can pick up, pass around and put back again without its seeming to have known.  (I have read that the hair tufts at the end of the female are irritating, but have not experienced that myself)  I am forced to alternate my lighting nights to give them a chance to go about their business.  Otherwise, with their sedentary days and attraction to lights at night, they could very well spend the rest of their adult existence on the light sheet.  This would be a terrible waste of life.  

It's interesting that they share the same coloration as my other favorite, the White Underwing.  Like the underwing, the tolypes make me think of cool northern forests of birches and aspens.  However, that's just my own projection, and an inaccurate one, since they can be found all the way down south to Florida.  They do have a little cousin, nearly identical except for the smaller size, called the Larch Tolype.  This one is a northern species, but one I encounter less frequently.

The tolypes are with me into the month of October, almost making it to the end of the month.  It passes on with its very last vision of its world filled with the blazing colors of autumn.