I googled it with virtually no response or related articles. I actually made two Light Traps that I raised into the canopy of a mature forest. Once I managed to place one about 75 feet or more into the Canopy, I had to solve several issues/problems. I shot the tether line with a crossbow and arrow that I found at Wal-Mart. Once the tether was in place a second tether was attached to the first tether. This tether was a combination of power cable and the permanent suspension cord. This cord remained in the tree. The tether line with the power cord was lowered and the Light Trap was attached with a Dog Snap. The ballast was attached to the Top Cap of the Light Trap. Raised into place, it remained all night in the Canopy. The Light Trap had a PES (Photoelectric Switch) which turned the Light Trap on at dark and off at daylight. I used it several times. I just left the tether/power cord in the tree for almost seven (7) months. I did however, use it a couple dozen times. I found some things more abundant in the Canopy than down below. I also sent large numbers of Micro moths to specialist for ID's. Also, I had more female moths in the Canopy Light Trap than I ever had in Light Traps on the ground.
Last Edit: Sept 20, 2020 14:40:42 GMT -8 by leptraps
The Catocala season is over for me in Southern Wisconsin. It was a very good year. I believe I collected 25 species from my bait trap in the back yard. Species of note were C. paleogama form phalanga, C. innubens form scintillans, C. angusi (3rd recorded specimen in Wisconsin) and C. maestosa, another rare species for Wisconsin.
Top to bottom: C. angusi C. paleogama form phalanga C. maestosa C. subnata (biggest one I have collected)
Last Edit: Sept 19, 2020 6:32:28 GMT -8 by bugboys3
I check my Bait Traps at Killdeer Plains WA yesterday. I put at least 26 Catocala moths in Killing Jars. I set out four Light Traps and headed for the barn.
Was up and gone to Killdeer Plains WA by 5AM. I collected another dozen Catocala from the Bait Traps. I let most of them fly. The Light Traps were loaded. I have at least 70+ specimens of Papaepema moths and several Lithophane and Seraglaea moths plus numerous Noctuidae. I will be mounting moths for several days.
Last Edit: Sept 29, 2020 11:40:37 GMT -8 by leptraps
I caught the lower moth a few years back here in northern IL and have always thought it was a melanic coccinata. The FWs patterning is similar to the above moth, but the HW inner black bar is reduced a bit and tapers off drastically instead of the usual coccinata HW above. What is your opinion of what it might be?
Though catocala season has wrapped up I still love these moths so, periodically I will post photo's of some of my cat's or curious observations that I may make of my specimens (whilst enjoying their myriad beauty).
Below, I offer up in triplicate that lovely species we know as the Clouded Underwing (Catocala nebulosa). First described by William Henry Edwards in 1864; it remains for me a desired, occasional species of variable coloration. It is one of our larger species measuring in at between 75-86mm. Its larvae feed on Bitternut Hickory (Carya cordiformis) and American Black Walnut (Juglans nigra). This of coarse indicates that it is a species of relict old forests or forest remnants.
I have only encountered it in the southern counties of my state (Illinois); and when found I have thus far only collected it during the month of July. I only have a dozen specimens (having been found over the years) and the 3 below exhibit some of the pleasant variation to be found.
The top one is my darkest or most melanic specimen collected; whilst the other two show rather stark color differences on the large lighter forewing patches. The middle one is tan in color as opposed to the lower one with much more yellow !
Thanks for tuning in to my discussion dedicated to one of my favorite species.
Last Edit: Oct 17, 2020 10:52:38 GMT -8 by trehopr1
Post by billgarthe on Oct 17, 2020 13:05:46 GMT -8
They are one of my favorites as well. Have caught them from July into September here in north central Illinois, and in TN, KY, and NC. I also love the variations. They’ve come to both my sugaring and to lights. Some years are better than others......this year was a good year for them.
Noticed one of your Cats is from Bald Knob at Alto Pass. Oh how I miss collecting at that spot since they changed the lights to LED. Used to get SO many things back when they were the BIG mercury lights. I went there a few years back and set up my lights on the hill and got a few.....kinda like regular spots, but not that horde of all kinds of stuff like years ago
Hello Bill, yes indeed you are so right about that place. What a beacon it once was...
As you probably know vandals smashed out most or all of those 1500 watt lights in the fall of 2006. I heard from a caretaker at the site that at least one (or more) of the large light housings was literally "yanked"out of its mooring (likely by a pickup truck). The cross at that time was in very decrepit shape so with all the lights pretty much destroyed the place was shut down. For the next 3 years running funds were being raised to pay for a renovation of the site. A total of $300,000 was raised by October 2009.
It took another 3 years to restore the monument site and a rededication ceremony was held in December 2012. However, there was no money left for lighting !! Also, it was deemed that the welcome center too needed renovation to be in step with the monument so, more time spent yet raising more money... Between raising more money and undertaking the renovation of the welcome center it took another 3 years; renovation to the welcome center was completed sometime in mid-year 2015. But, still NO LIGHTS.
It would take yet another 2 years of haggling before new lighting would be installed; in addition to the bunkers themselves being restored in (2017). Of coarse, during the sorted discussions the old method of lighting was deemed too expensive to run so a combination LED + Halogen light system was incorporated instead at the renovated site. All told there were NO lights up there whatsoever from fall (2006) up till April (2017). About 10 1/2 years...
I finally got there to try to collect once again in June (2018). Well, as you remarked the new lights have largely "trashed" the idea of any GOOD collecting up there. Here and there, an occasional goodie can be found but, you can stay up there for 3 or 4 hours and maybe get 15-20 keepers for all the time spent. And, that's on a GOOD night ! Add in any measure of wind, rain, or drought like conditions and it just about makes you want cry... Having known what a great site it once was its very deflating having lost what once was.
I went yet again a year later in July (2019) and had a lousy weather weekend where my first night had too much wind and my second night saw a storm roll thru an hour after I arrived ! I decided to skip this year...
Has anyone noticed hilltopping tendencies in moths? We had some good Catocala action on the summit of a local ridge, but average to poor action lower. The risks of hills is always the damn wind, which is the worst thing to have when collecting. Moon and temperature aren't as bad as a 10+ mph wind to kill a collecting night. The sheet just whips and knocks everyone off
OK, the annual catocala topic is one of my favorites on this site each year. You all posted some wonderful news on your catches throughout the year and it was fun to see what you were up to. I meant to get a list of my Colorado catocala captures out and am just getting to it as the season is fully wrapped up.
I mostly caught catocala in my backyard this year, with a couple species I got on a trip out to Mesa county on the Western slope in Colorado. I use a slotted pan I bought from Leroy a few years back with fruit bait. I was delighted in that, for whatever reason, this year I added a couple species to those that I catch in my backyard -- I'm up to 11 now. I live in a suburb in between Denver and Boulder, so I guess I'm a little surprised how many catocala I can catch in my backyard at all! I've taken a few up to CSU for help with IDs, so I think I've got these correct, but I'm also convinced catocala ID is a lifelong sport and I'm still building out a correctly identified Colorado series of each for future comparisons.
My favorite catch this year was Catocala nuptialis. It's not a Colorado record according to some of the catocala folks, but it's also not something I can find record of anywhere easily, so it's at least an interesting catch.
I've been catching Catocala amestris in my backyard for a few years. Those were probably county records at least, but I see a few each year reliably now.
Here's my 2020 Colorado List -- all from my backyard, unless noted - Catocala violenta [western slope] - Catocala aholibah [western slope] - Catocala ultronia - Catocala nuptialis - Catocala parta - Catocala amestris - Catocala semirelicta - Catocala junctura - Catocala briseis - Catocala amatrix - Catocala amatrix form “selecta” - Catocala luciana - Catocala meskei (probably) - Catocala hermia (which I'm told is now californica)
Last Edit: Nov 10, 2020 19:17:28 GMT -8 by coloradeo
The top one was collected in Cook Co., Chicago, Ill.
The bottom one was collected also in Cook Co., Forestview, Ill.
Thank you bugboys3 for forwarding your thoughts on that little one. Very helpful indeed !
Thank you as well Billg. for your addition help and thoughts on these 2 specimens. These are the only species representatives that I now have of either of these species so, I'm VERY happy to find I have 2 new species for my self caught catocala list....