June springs forth with dozens of types of butterflies and moths to claim the attention of the rambler. Some are easy to identify, like the Red-spotted Purples and the returning Red Admirals. Others are smaller but just as noticeable, like these fingernail-sized moths perching on a sunlit leaf in a shady part of Riverwood Conservancy, then rising up to chase away rivals or perhaps chase after partners. Their wings are basically dark but a broad white stripe on each side makes the moths very noticeable.
Hooray for Names That Make Sense Like “White Striped Black” Moth
My need to identify new creatures would be met more easily if they all had names like this little moth. It’s called a White-striped Black which suits it perfectly. Although I didn’t find it by looking that phrase up in my Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern North America, I could have. (Well, it would have been a little tricky as it’s indexed under Black, White-striped.)
The book confirms the id by mentioning this small moth is “often seen during daytime along wooded trails.” My experience exactly!
Why Do Shade-Loving Moths Persist In Staying in the Dimly-Lit Glades?
As a photographer, I wish to register a minor complaint with the White-striped Black moth guild: It’s very hard for me to get a good photo of one when
a) They like to fly away if I approach within 3 metres and
b) They like to stay in the shade where my camera balks at taking a clear photo
Ah, well, I think these photos give you a reasonable idea of what moth I’m talking about.
What Do White-striped Black Moth Caterpillars Eat?
I had expected to find that the moth lays eggs on Virginia Creeper. By far and away, this was the most common leaf on which I saw them perched. But according to Peterson’s, the host plant is impatiens.
That stumped me for a while, until I realized that Jewelweed, or Touch me not, is actually a type of impatiens. Jewelweed grows rampant in the parks in Mississauga and Oakville, so the caterpillars should have lots to munch.
I haven’t seen one of their caterpillars yet but I keep looking. And I’ll enjoy looking at the moths again next June, too.
- What Is This Dark Moth With 8 Large White Spots?
- Luna Moths are Huge
- Electric-blue and Orange Colouring Enlivens Ctenucha Moths
Have you seen any White-striped Black moths on your Impatiens? Please share your sighting with a comment.