Friday 21 June 2019

Mottled Duskywing hunting

This week, my job has taken me on a road trip of southern Ontario (or central Ontario, depending on your perspective). Over the last few days I have put a lot of miles on my car, but explored some unique areas, both on and off the clock! I'll be posting more photos from this trip soon, but at this time I wanted to focus on one particular highlight.

Earlier this week I came across my first Mottled Duskywing in Ontario. This species has undergone drastic declines over much of its range, and in Ontario it has disappeared from a number of historic sites. Nobody knows exactly why this species is so scarce, but it likely has to do with a combination of factors. These include habitat changes (they are very specific in their preferences), habitat loss, Gypsy Moth spraying, poaching, and others.

I managed to do some sleuthing and settled on several possible locations where this species could be found, focusing on areas where its foodplant (two species of New Jersey Tea, genus Ceanothus) prevails. Luckily my hunch was correct since I came across a single Mottled Duskywing near a large patch of New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus).

Mottled Duskywing

True to its nature, this particular Mottled Duskywing was quite flighty and a certain amount of patience was required in order to obtain decent enough photos.

Mottled Duskywing

Mottled Duskywings are one of the easier duskywing species to identify due to the uniqueness of the zigzags and barring on the forewing. It also has a more patterned hindwing than the other duskywing species. Size wise, Mottled Duskywing is rather small, giving off the appearance of a Colombine Duskywing initially.

Mottled Duskywing

I don't want to say to much about the habitat or the area in fear of giving away too much information so I'll stop there! Here are a few other insects that I photographed in the same general area that day.

A worn Eastern Pine Elfin - getting late for these guys.

Eastern Pine Elfin

Meanwhile Hobomok Skippers are now flying in strong numbers. This is one of the most frequently encountered skippers in Ontario and they are easily found along woodland trails, or nectaring on flowers at meadow edges.

Hobomok Skipper

Common Ringlets have also emerged in high numbers recently.

Common Ringlet

These two peculiar moths were new ones for me and I had a lot of fun watching them do their thing! They are Ontario's only representatives of the genus Thyris

Mournful (left) and Spotted Thyris Moths

Spotted Thyris Moth

Mournful Thyris Moth

My knowledge of Hymenoptera is pretty limited. This is one of several types of Sweat Bees I noticed, but I haven't figured out its specific identification yet.

Agapostemon sp.

Canadian Tiger Swallowtails were taking advantage of the sunny conditions. This one was missing chunks of its wings, perhaps resulting from a close encounter with a bird.

Canadian Tiger Swallowtail

This is a Juvenal's Duskywing, as identified by its bold apical spots in the forewing, and overall patterning.

Juvenal's Duskywing

Tiger Beetles were found in good numbers in the area and included four species (Big Sand, Oblique-lined, Bronzed and Six-spotted). These diurnal predators are usually not too hard to find in sunny, sandy areas.

Big Sand Tiger Beetle

Oblique-lined Tiger Beetle

This is an Olethreutine Leafroller Moth species, though I haven't had the time yet to figure out its identification.

Olethreutinae sp.

A Hemipenthes fly that I haven't identified either.

Hemipenthes sp.

Calico Pennants must have emerged recently since they were one of the most common dragons I encountered.

Calico Pennant

1 comment:

Quinten Wiegersma said...

Looks like your moth might be of the genus Eucosma! Should be a good starting point :)