Four in one

From our first visits to our farm in Salta it became apparent that its insect wealth was enormous. In particular, as you have read here, butterflies and moths really rule. The latter in particular are very varied and abundant. Being attracted by the light makes them easy to capture, observe, photograph and, eventually, release. In the early morning the trick is to be there before the insectivorous birds that do not care for beauty but taste!

I have described and published posts mainly on butterflies for two main reasons: they are colourful and photogenic but also better known in the area. Moths are difficult and, although I have taken pictures of a few hundred specimens, I am still waiting for their identification as the group’s taxonomy does not seem to be well known. The consequence of this is that most of the time I do not know what I am looking at in a taxonomical way. I then need to resort to my own classification by colour, shape and size that produces specimens such as “mottled brown medium size”, “barred brown with delta wings” or “large and smooth hawk moth”, etc.

A couple of days ago I came across one specimen that, although I have seen before, it is infrequent but rather attractive. Looking at it from its dorsal part, I could see a figure on its back that looked like a face (with Ray-Ban seafarer glasses?) or a cat face.

My wife saw a butterfly and, in December 2014 when I first saw it, I described as a moth “white with skull on back” It was like a psychological test I undertook in my childhood where you are asked to describe what you saw!

Later, looking at the pictures, there were more creatures to come out!

A dorsal view of its head showed a monkey face (agreed by my wife this time although the discussion centered on whether it was a baby Colobus or a Vervet!).

The final surprise was when we looked at it from the front. I saw a clear dog’s face while my wife saw a rabbit head!

Amazed by the various beasts we saw, we almost forgot that we were looking at a simple moth. However, it was one of Nature’s specials depicting three different creatures, apart from itself, a feat that I believe is difficult to match!