Sunday, March 25, 2012

Conk Watch 2012 - March Supplement

The conks I have been keeping an eye on started to get moldy this week.
The same thing happened last year.  I thought they were going to rot away and mostly ignored them for a month or so until I noticed that not only were they still there, but they had grown and there were of them.
One conk even sported some fuzzy mold growth.
I think the white parts of this conk are new growth of the conk fungus, growing over last year's moldy surface, which is what I saw last year, or at least what I interpreted that I saw.

Toothed Brown Carpet Moth

Toothed Brown Carpet Moth - Xanthorhoe lacustrata
The common name "carpet moth" gives you the impression that this moth is a potential pest, feeding on the rugs, carpets, and other fabrics in your house.  A lot of moths have the word carpet as part of their common name, and some of them are household pests.  But I think in this case, the word carpet refers to the pattern and coloration of the wings.  The "toothed" part of the name apparently refers to the bump in the lower part of the dark brown strip across the middle of the wing.

These moths spend the winter as pupa, emerge in the early spring, lay eggs and feed as caterpillars until the early summer.  Then they pupate and emerge for a second generation in mid to late summer.  The caterpillars feed on a variety of plants.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Moth Season



The Half Wing - Phigalia titea  
March doesn't seem like ideal moth weather, but it's when when we start to see some species become active (along with some species of butterflies) after winter.  There are a number of species that are cold weather specialists, active early in the spring, or late into the fall.  Many of these cold active moths have females that are wingless; instead of spending energy on flying around in the cold, which takes a lot of energy for an insect, they stay more or less put, let the males do the traveling, and use the "saved" energy for eggs.

The Half-wing featured in this post spends the winter as a pupa in the leaf litter or soil.  Eggs are laid on tree bark in the early spring.  The caterpillars eat a wide variety of broad-leaved woody plants, but specialize in eating new leaves, so they have probably pupated by early summer



Sunday, March 18, 2012

Conk Watch 2012 - March

Welcome to the March edition of Conk Watch 2012.
Not much change since February's post.
The biggest difference is the snow, which has been mostly absent this year.
These pictures are from about two weeks ago.  We've had some very warm weather recently, so maybe the conks have started showing some signs of new growth or change.
I think the white is probably mycelium showing through where the bark has been scrapped off.    Stay tuned for the next edition of Conk Watch 2012.