Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Moth... RAH!

It's a headline you'll only understand if you, too, share some portion of your life with someone who likes cheezy science fiction films. Or if you are that person yourself.

The other day, enroute to the grocery store, the DM and I found a moth that was in fine shape- other than being dead. Even its antennae were perfect... wide, yellow fans. I held it cupped in my hand the entire time we did the shopping, checked out, and walked home. I don't think anyone noticed... but I don't think anyone who knows me would have been surprised.

A few weeks ago I found a moth of a different species, not yet dead but sitting quite still in the middle of the street. I scooped it up and put it in a safe spot in the yard, but it expired overnight in the flower pot.

They've both been on the shelf since their passive collection, but yesterday I found a page with a painting I'd done of ANOTHER moth some time ago. It seemed a good time to add to the two-dimensional collection, so.... here they are. One is white-lined sphinx moth... I haven't sorted the others out yet.

Mystery countdown: TWO!


  1. They are so beautiful, moths. I would have probably picked it up to inspect it too!

  2. Mothra? No, no idea what you're talking about.

    I think I got away with that.

    Close up, moths are probably more beautiful than butterflies. All those subtle colours force you to really look.

  3. these are beautiful! and this made me laugh.... mostly because yesterday the baby and I went to the mailbox and on the way back found a dead butterfly. folded up, one wing a bit battered, but still beautiful and interesting. so I picked it up and carried it home, pretending not to notice that three seperate sets of neighbors out smoking on their balconies were staring at me :) I'm glad other artists understand!

  4. I think the top one's another kind of sphinx moth, but I don't know which. If you want to do some sleuthing, go to Butterflies and Moths of North America (, a great site, and work your way through the Sphinx moth family looking at photos and range maps. My second guess would be something in the Io family. Go to the "image gallery" to just browse through thumbnails by family. (I'd do it, but I'm too tired tonight!)

  5. Great illustrations!

    I agree with your call on the white-line sphinx (Hyles lineata). The first is also in the Sphinx family (Sphingidae) as Susan suggests. My guess is that it is Smerinthus cerisyi, the one-eyed sphinx. The second is actually in the silk moth family (Bombycidae). I think it is Agapema homogena, which does not have a common name as far as I am aware...

  6. Well, good morning all you fans of moths, dead stuff, cheesy science fiction, and indulging in behaviors found questionable by your neighbors!

    I feel so... at home... among you.

    Caitlin and Kellie...pocket-fillers after my own heart! Kellie, you should have seen the looks I got when I carted dead fish home for more than a mile!

    Susan and Amanda, thanks for the ID tips. I tried to look online, but found it difficult to get started when I know nothing of moth taxonomy. (Pictures first, please, taxo second.)

    Snail... your secret's safe with me, 'cause you and I, we're aaallll about subtle. Just like Mothra. (cough, choke, grin)

  7. Sherrie, beautiful illustrations.
    I used to raise the catipillars, picking them off my tomato plants before they stripped them bare. (Know any tomato growers?)Just keep them in a jar and feed them enough tomato leaves and dirt to keep them going and eventually you'll see the most wonderful crysallis. Total sculpture. It's about 2.5 inches long, a rich orange shellac brown. The tongue develops like a handle of a pitcher, arching away from the body and connecting back. Ask around among your gardening friend. It's not the thing you'd find on a walk, 'cause they develop in the ground. Aint nature amazing?

  8. Thank you, Patrick... If my couple of apathetic tomato plants pick up any freeloaders I shall have something kinder to do with them than immediate dispatch!

    It's lovely to hear from you but, ahem. Aren't you supposed to be on computer-free retreat this week? Don't make me come over there to unplug you. ;-)

  9. Links to moth pics:
    White-lined sphinx

    One-eyed sphinx

    Rocky mountain agapema

  10. Oooh love moths - not only do I pick up dead or almost dead moth specimens and carefully carry them around before bringing them home - friends have also been known to pick them up for me and then ring me to come get them! Moths are actually quite gorgeous - a while back saw a freshly hatched Hercules Moth - it was shade of brown but absolutely exquisite!
    I have started some sketches but family life this year outside of 'artwork' has been way too busy to settle much on completing work. Hoping 2nd half of year better!
    Lovely drawings Sherrie!!

  11. Thanks, Amanda! I was interested to see on the agapema page that they didn't show a record for Chaffee County, so mebbe I should tell someone. Hm.

    And Lyn... it's so nice to know that the Tribe of Moth Gatherers is so widespread! I'll keep my fingers crossed for the second half of your creative year.

  12. Late to the party - again!
    Yes, I pick up all sorts of things to study. And The Man brought me a dead glasswing from out at a coal mine.So I guess we're all in good company!

  13. These are beautiful (even though moths creep me out, as do all insects). Cracked me up with "in fine shape other than being dead."