Attracting moths with light. Photo: Emily Damstra.

Photo: Emily Damstra

On Saturday, July 7 a few SONSI members met at the home of member Fiona Reid for an evening of mothing. After a fine potluck dinner (which included Fiona’s delicious homemade bread and key lime/mango pie for dessert), Fiona’s friend Don arrived to show us some moth caterpillars he was raising. (Polyphemus and another species). Then we donned our long sleeves (mosquito protection) and followed the trail through the forest on Fiona’s property. Fiona painted moth bait (a concoction of mashed bananas and Riesling, among other ingredients) on every large tree next to the trail and also set up a white sheet with a light at the beginning and end of the trail.
Once the sun went down it was much cooler and almost mosquito-free. It turned out to be a fantastic night for moths. We saw many species, including Polyphemus and a few different sphinx moths. See photos!
In addition to the moths, our flashlight beams revealed dobsonflies, caddisflies, a large millipede, a predaceous diving beetle, and a huge porcupine!

Porcupine. Photo: Emily Damstra

Many thanks to Fiona for hosting this excellent event. Also, our gratitude goes to Southern Ontarians David Beadle and Seabrooke Leckie for their new Peterson Field Guide to Moths which was a huge help with the identifications.

Painting moth bait. Photo: Emily Damstra