Monday, May 04, 2009

Fugitive moth

It's still pretty cold outside for moths. This first one of the year has come out of hiding in the house. It is very small, maybe 1/4 inch, and extremely exitable. I let it calm down in the fridge, then took three preliminary photos in a plastic bag. But it was panicking already, and losing feathers. (See them in the photo?)

"Don't fence me in!"

I unzipped the bag, preparing to transfer it to a larger container where it might calm down, and it slid through the crack to freedom. It's flitting around the kitchen now, a tiny blur of wings, always just out of reach, uncatchable.

Oh well. There will be others, now the season has started.



  1. I think I have the same kinds here inside my house too. Do you know what species is it?

  2. I don't know the species. It's a snout moth, but I went through all BugGuide's snout moth photos (almost 2400!) and didn't find it.

  3. I think it's an Indian Meal Moth, Plodia interpunctella. According to BugGuide, this species is native to South America but has arrived up here with stored food products such as flour, oatmeal, bird seed, etc.

    You might be interested in a new book that's just coming out (mid-May), called Moths of Western North America. I didn't see it listed at Chapters, but has it for pre-order. It would probably be a lot easier to look things up in than BugGuide. :)

  4. Oh, also forgot to say, I find most of those little micromoths very active and hard to photograph. The best way I've found to get a photo (and not always guaranteed) is to put them into a small, hard container like a film canister or pill jar, and put it in the fridge for half an hour. Once it's chilled, take it out gently and remove the cap without causing too many vibrations. Gently turn the jar over so the open mouth faces the surface you want the moth on, and then give the butt-end of the jar a strong, smart smack. This should dislodge the moth from the jar, but without "awakening" him. Doesn't work for all micros, but does work for many of them.

  5. Thanks, Seabrooke.

    It must have come from one of those things I get from the dried foods store. I get chile beetles from Mexico there, too.

    And thanks for the tip about the book. Looks good!


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