Monday, October 22, 2012

Book Tour Big 350: shoe moth and other novelties

From New Canaan, Connecticut, Kenn writes:  Last night we reported that our big book tour list had soared to 260 species.  Today our pace slowed way down, but we added a few things.

Today we were dealing with people, mostly, not nature.  Kimberly and I both had to attend to correspondence related to a big conservation effort back in Ohio; we gave an afternoon program to a wonderful audience at the New Canaan Public Library; then we got together with our great friend Fred Baumgarten, with whom I had worked at National Audubon Society back in the late 1980s.  But when we got back to the hotel room, well after dark, we got a new species for the trip literally IN our room.
Velvetbean Caterpillar Moth: a southern species that wanders northward in fall, but hardly something that we'd expected to find in Connecticut.
We mentioned on the blog a couple of days ago that we had slogged through a marsh in Rhode Island to see a rare Wood Sandpiper.  Our shoes had gotten pretty skanky during that adventure, so today I had washed my shoes in the sink and set them outside on the porch to dry.  When we got back late this evening I brought them in - still very wet, still a bit rank - and after I brought them inside, we noticed a moth sitting on one shoe.  Some moths are attracted to bait such as animal droppings, carrion, or rotting fruit, so this moth's fascination with my shoe is not a good sign!

We've seen this species in the past, but couldn't remember the name. Fortunately, moth expert Ken Childs came through with a quick ID: it's a Velvetbean Caterpillar Moth (Anticarsia gemmatalis), a common southern species that invades northward in fall.  It's rare in New England, so we hadn't expected to see it here, and hadn't included it in our field guide!

Other new things for the list today included Red-breasted Nuthatch (finally) and Wild Geranium.  We're up to 265 now, but we'll have to average better than 10 new species per day from now on if we're going to hit 350 by the end of the tour.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Nature Blog Network