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Posts Tagged ‘Ailanthus Webworm moth’

Goldenrod was in full bloom on Wednesday at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge, attracting all kinds of insects, including a little Skipper butterfly and a colorfully-patterned Ailanthus Webworm moth (Atteva aurea). I believe that the butterfly is a Sachem Skipper (Atalopedes campestris), although it is hard to be confident when identifying skipper butterflies—there are quite a number of similar looking species.

I love the intricate orange, black, and white pattern on the body of the Ailanthus Webworm moth, a type of ermine moth. This moth looks quite a bit like a beetle when it is at rest with its wings tucked in, but reportedly it looks like a wasp when in flight. I encourage you to click on the image to get a better look at the wonderful details of the two insects.

When I composed this image, I was conscious of the fact that my primary subject, which was initially the skipper, filled only a small part of the frame. However, I really liked the brilliant yellow of the goldenrod and framed the shot to focus viewers’ attention as much on the sweeping curve and color of the goldenrod as on the insects. The goldenrod became the co-star of the photo and therefore has equal billing in the title of this blog posting.

goldenrod and insects

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Whenever I see an Ailanthus Webworm moth (Atteva aurea), I assume that it is some kind of beetle. It is hard to believe that the colorful patterns are actually part of the wings and not a hard exterior shell. I spotted this beautiful little moth on some goldenrod last week while exploring Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

The pattern on this insect’s body reminds me of an animal print. Wouldn’t it be cool to have fabric printed with this bold pattern? I can imagine throw pillows and even fashion accessories. From a marketing perspective, though, I think we would have to come up with a new name for the insect—a name like “webworm” probably would not attract many customers.

Ailanthus Webworm moth

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

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When you closely at flowers, you discover all kinds of cool insects, like this Ailanthus Webworm Moth (Atteva aurea) that I spotted yesterday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. My eyes were drawn to the colorful pattern on the body of this insect, which I initially assumed was some kind of beetle. Because of the distinctiveness of the pattern, it was not hard to identify it after a Google search, but I was a bit surprised to learn that it is a moth, not a beetle.

I thought that this was my first time spotting this moth, but a search of my blog shows that I saw one in 2016 and did a posting entitled Not a Beetle. Although my memory may not be perfect, apparently my reaction was almost identical both times.

Ailanthus Webworm moth

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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My eyes were drawn yesterday to the bright yellow of a patch of goldenrod as I was exploring Jackson Miles Abbott Wetlands Refuge at nearby Fort Belvoir. From past experience I knew that goldenrod also attracts a wide variety of insects, so I moved in closer with my macro lens at the ready.

There were a lot of skipper butterflies, but what really caught my eye was a small, brightly patterned insect that was crawling around in the goldenrod. Based on its shape, I assumed that it was some kind of beetle, but I had not idea what kind it was. When I returned home and began to do a little research, I was a little shocked to learn that the insect in question was a moth, not a beetle. I am pretty sure that it is an Ailanthus Webworm moth (Atteva aurea).

The colors and patterns of this moth are so spectacular that I think it needs a name that is more descriptive and easier to remember. Any ideas?

Ailanthus Webworm moth

Ailanthus Webworm moth

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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