Nature: Butterflies and Moths

Acrea Moth 细斑灯蛾 (Arctidae, Tiger Moths)

The Acrea Moth is a typical tiger moth, a dancer in the shadows of the evening, a lover of the light that attracts it from far away in the forest. In the meadow it may flit from flower to flower before the deeper dusk closes the petals, but it stays mainly near the trees, seeking especially for white bark on which it can instantly hide by folding the white forewings over the orange hind wings and tail. So startlingly different is the contrast between the white foreward half and the orange and black back half of this insect that it often appears as if two distinct creatures were flying. When one of these suddenly disappears because the moth has landed and folded its wings, one can imagine the confusion of an enemy.

The Acrea Moth is lovely dweller of the evening clear from New York to the Pacific Coast and south through most of the country. Sometimes, in a warm summer, these moths come so thick to lights or lighted windows that they seem to be everywhere. Then again, mysteriously, they will disappear and there will be none. The male hunts through field and forest for the female, following her by her peculiar scent that is wafted on the night winds, until he finds her in some hidden bower. The caterpillars live on many plants and are often called woolly bears because of their profusion of hairs.

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