Moths: an unseen world

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Last night I participated in a moth survey at the Schulenberg Prairie where I sketch and volunteer. Conditions were not ideal, windy to start and a rain squall went through, however, we persevered and set up under the visitor station and waited.

White sheet and mercury vapor lamp copyright 2019 Karen Johnson

White sheet and mercury vapor lamp

I’ve always loved moths, but will admit that “bigger was always better” even as a child. As tiny moths, and mosquitoes, started drifting in, the enthusiasm of Trevor and Jeff, our experienced leaders, as they photographed and identified each one was contagious. Bending down, angling the light just right, praying your subject wouldn’t take fright, trying not to breathe as you take the shot, and rushing to the next one before it flew away were steps that were repeated over and over. As the night wore on, larger moths flew in, Tiger and Sphinx moths, capped off with a brief appearance by a Polyphemus moth, one of my favorites. I photographed over 25 moths in a 2 hour span, but I’m sure there were more as I sketched some of them as well.

Moth survey sketch copyright 2019 Karen Johnson

Moth survey sketch © 2019 Karen Johnson

I’m humbled, awed, and reminded anew over how much I have to learn about this amazing world that God has created . Even tiny moths that are usually unseen have beautiful patterns, camouflaging colors and interesting shapes if you stop long enough to notice and pay attention. Such a beautiful tapestry that God has woven, using both the large, flashy creatures as well as the small, overlooked ones, all of which play their own role in this prairie habitat. Enjoy!

Harnessed Tiger moth © 2019 Karen JohnsonUnknown © 2019 Karen JohnsonVirginia creeper Sphinx © 2019 Karen Johnson

 

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