my Saturniidae report for this season Aug 16, 2020 15:47:09 GMT -8
Post by joniverson on Aug 16, 2020 15:47:09 GMT -8
I'm beginning to wind down my collecting for the year, so thought I would share what I have obtained to date. I put out my MV light and sheet in late April and, at first, ran the light for 8 hours nightly as I found that Lunas needed the greatest time allotment; by the end of June, I stuck mostly between the hours of 10 PM - 3 AM. I mainly run the light less because it will increase my electric bill by 20% if run 8 hours nightly (granted that my bill rarely exceeds $65/ month normally). I live near Philadelphia and have used this page as a guide for what to expect this year. I only ran MV lighting; with the uncertainty of Covid, I did not put out butterfly (and moth) bait traps this year (I won't go into the stores for bananas.... I did try a short experiment using only apples and sugar but did not work). I also ripped out my Buddleia last year and did not replace. Those plants attracted a lot of butterflies last year, so I missed them.
I found still, humid and warm nights best (there were only about 5 ideal nights throughout the period). The moon was out on several nights, but only first quarter or less (anything larger and I got poor results). Also, when I tried watching the sheet and light, I would get better results as many candidates would fly away if I hadn't of been quick to net them. Here's what I got (in chronological order):
6 male Actias luna until about the middle of June, time varied- had some show up at 9:30 PM- 11 PM, but most between 11 PM - 2 AM
2 male Antheraea polyphemus, one a keeper, the other too worn to keep; both between 11 PM - 1 AM, both netted in late June/ early July
1 female Callosamia promethea in late June
1 male Liriodendron tulipifera in early July
3 Dryocampa rubicunda late June/ early July
8 Eacles imperialis, 7 male, 1 female, mid to late July, only species where I actually had more than one per night
1 male Automeris io, late July
Two other moths that I had hoped for never made an appearance: Hyalophora cecropia and Citheronia regalis. I think I may have set up my light too late for the former as that page reports their flight period from April until June, and the other (regal) seems to be rarely seen or reported in my area for years.
I am surprised that I collected almost all that would normally be in my area and I am a first timer at this. And the fact that a mosquito sprayer truck goes through the area about once every six weeks or so. The absolute key to success seemed to be watching the light on a regular basis. Last year, I only ended up with a few Catocala, but I never actually set up the light and sheet until almost this time, so that's probably why. This year, outside of Saturniidae, I've had plenty of sphinx/ hawk moths show up at the sheet and of course Catocala.
I'm going to try giving more time for Citheronia regalis. I had also hoped the tropical storm I had here a few weeks back would have brought in some rarely seen Ascalapha odorata, but no dice. If the regal is still a no show by the end of this week, I take the set up down until next season and earlier next year in the hopes of netting Hyalophora cecropia.