Mutant moth!

I have spent three years photographing butterflies and moths at our farm located in the phytogeographic area of the Yungas that belongs to the Neo-tropical Amazonian domain. Its warm and humid climate acts as a true insect incubator that I find extremely interesting and entertaining.

Most butterflies are pictured while walking on the access road where they abound in certain areas while the moths are attracted by a while light left on overnight. I can guarantee that both walks and light offer new discoveries almost daily. The problem is to be able to take the necessary pictures, often with poor light and with moving and flying subjects as the only dead ones come from “road kills”.

Very often I doubt if I am looking at a butterfly or a moth as the division is not as clear as between bats and birds! Broadly I considered that butterflies were diurnal, colourful insects that fold their wings vertically while the opposite applied to moths: rather dull, nocturnal and with horizontally-placed wings.

To be sure, I consulted the only butterfly guide I have handy[1] that confirmed my views adding that there are also differences in the shape of their antennae as well as an academic difference regarding humeral lobes and frenula that is beyond me dealing with live insects.

What I also learnt is that there are some exceptions to this general rules, as usual!

What the book did not tell me is that some moths further complicate the budding lepidopterist’s life by pretending to be butterflies and vice-versa!

What I did not know was that confusion would also be possible while identifying one individual moth, depending on the wing you look at! I came across this example of a bicolor moth that I did not know it could happen.

No doubt this has been observed before but I thought it worth reporting it while I follow this issue up with the “experts”.

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The “mutant”…

 

[1] Williams, J.G. (1969). A field guide to the butterflies of Africa. Collins. 238p.

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