Thallophaga hyperborea Geometridae

Point Defiance Park, Tacoma, WA
July 22, 2013
Robert Niese

This one was a really tough ID. We found this moth during our Slater Museum moth-lighting trip in Point Defiance for National Moth Week. We gave up attempting to identify it pretty early and had to call-in help from the experts at BugGuide. But even over at BugGuide, it was tentatively placed in three different genera before we settled on Thallophaga. Western Washington University is currently attempting to create a visual key to the Geometrids of the Pacific Northwest. As soon as it gets published, I’ll let you all know!

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Arbutus menziesii “Madrone/Arbutus” Ericaceae

Point Defiance Park, Tacoma, WA
May 5, 2012
Robert Niese

This is one of my favorite PNW endemics. The bark can be collected and steeped in a tea to treat stomach aches, cramps, or sore throats. The berries can be chewed to suppress hunger or fermented into a cider. The wood of madrone is beautiful and dense making it excellent for kinds of projects. Madrone’s thick, evergreen leaves are resistant to water loss make the species well adapted for coastal and dry environments throughout the PNW.

Arbutus menziesii “Madrone/Arbutus” Ericaceae

Point Defiance Park, Tacoma, WA
May 5, 2012
Robert Niese

This is one of my favorite PNW endemics. These bark peels can be collected and steeped in a tea to treat stomach aches, cramps, or sore throats. The berries can be chewed to suppress hunger or fermented into a cider. The wood of madrone is beautiful and dense making it excellent for kinds of projects. Madrone’s thick, evergreen leaves are resistant to water loss make the species well adapted for coastal and dry environments throughout the PNW.

Scoparia basalis “Many-spotted Scoparia” Crambidae

Point Defiance Park, Tacoma, WA
July 22, 2013
Robert Niese

Our night of mothlighting in Point Defiance Park was chock-full of these adorable little (1cm!) Crambids. Definitely our most abundant moth of the evening! Caterpillars of Scoparia moths are poorly described, but some scientists think they might live in and feed on mosses before reaching adulthood. This might make sense considering that the forests in Point Defiance Park are dripping with mosses!

Happy National Moth Week!

Choristoneura rosaceana “Oblique-banded Tortrix Leafroller” Tortricidae

Point Defiance Park, Tacoma, WA
July 22, 2013
Robert Niese

The larva of these inconspicuous moths are significant pests on apples (and many other rosaceous plants) where they voraciously consume both fruits and leaves. Larval leafrollers, as their name suggests, roll-up the leaves of their host plants and hide inside the rolled-up tube for protection from parasites and predators. Learn more about this species at the Colorado State University’s interactive webpage on Tortricids of Agricultural Importance.

Happy National Moth Week!