Owlet Moth


a day flying Noctuidae, possibly an Annaphila sp., in the Sonoran Desert photo © by Mike Plagens

This moth was on the wing on a cool spring day (temp. ca. 15°C) in Hell's Canyon, Hieroglyphic Mts., Yavapai Co., Arizona, USA. March 2011.

Noctuidae -- Owlet Moth Family

Most moths fly at night and many are drably colored in shades of gray and brown. This one breaks the pattern by flying during daylight hours and by having bright orange hind wings. The orange hind wings are concealed in this photo but flas brightly when the insect takes off. The very dark forwings, thorax and abdomen allow the insect to warm in the sunshine when spring temperatures would otherwise be too cool for the wing muscles to function.

Working out the host relationships, seasonal biology, and life history strategies is a viable and valuable enterprise for amature field biologists. There are so many things we don't know and that should be known. Little equipment is needed to make novel discoveries and to help fill in the pieces towards an understanding of Sonoran Desert ecology.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 15 May 2012