February Moth

The night before last, as I was brushing my teeth, I caught the twirling of a little antenna out of the corner of my eye.  I turned so see this 5.5-mm moth perched on the bathroom wall:

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As you can see, I ran to get my camera, which hasn’t seen much use this winter.  Although the above shot was the one in which I succeeded in getting the whole moth in focus, other angles do a better job of showing off the yellow speckles and purplish iridescence:

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This is a Caloptilia species (Gracillariidae), which as a larva is initially a leafminer before emerging to roll part of the leaf into a cone, in which it completes its development. I don’t know which species it is; I saw some Caloptila mines and rolls on a red maple in my yard last fall, but I don’t know offhand whether this could be one of the maple-feeding species. As discussed here, these overwinter as adults, and this one was probably waiting out the winter on a piece of firewood that got brought into the house.

In other news, I’ve just taken all my overwintering leafminers out of the refrigerator, which will likely result in many more photos of tiny things in the near future.

About Charley Eiseman

I am a freelance naturalist, endlessly fascinated by the interconnections of all the living and nonliving things around me. I am the lead author of Tracks & Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates (Stackpole Books, 2010), and continue to collect photographs and information on this subject. These days I am especially drawn to galls, leaf mines, and other plant-insect interactions.
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One Response to February Moth

  1. Pingback: Leafminers Awaken! | BugTracks

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