November 5, 2021
Ben here with the Friday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!
This attractive little moth is most likely the false crocus geometer moth (Xanthotype urticaria), although it's difficult to know for certain!
There are five different species in the genus Xanthotype, all of them found in North America. All five of the species vary wildly when it comes to their markings, and there's apparently no reliable way to tell them apart without examining their reproductive organs (which is a step further than I am willing to take my relationship with moths). However, of the five species, X. urticaria is the only one that's found throughout Virginia, so that's most likely the species this individual belongs to.
These moths are typically found in mixed or deciduous forests. While they're drawn to lights at night, they're also active during the day; if you're walking through the woods, you might accidentally flush one from its hiding spot in a bush. In the southern part of their range, these moths are active from April through November, so it's possible that you might spot one at your porch light before winter hits!
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (www.cbtcares.com).
NATURE PHOTO IDENTIFICATIONS
If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!