15 November 2016

Tropical moth seen in Wisconsin

Just down Bascom Hill from Spalding’s lab, squeezed between Birge Hall and University Avenue, is UW–Madison’s renowned Botanical Garden, a flower-filled teaching and research space where the Wisconsin botanist breaks from the routine of academic research and teaching to engage in his pastime of observing “pretty things with wings.”
On a sojourn to the garden last month, Spalding saw and photographed “a handsome moth” he suspected was rare. What he did not know then was that his sighting was the first recorded observation in Wisconsin of the White-tipped Black moth, a tropical species whose natural range typically does not extend much farther north than Florida and the Texas coast...

Ferge was skeptical of Spalding’s find at first and inquired if anything tropical had been recently transplanted in the garden. But garden Director Mohammad Fayyaz checked the garden records and noted that planting tropical species in Wisconsin in October is, at best, a losing proposition...

This year, there have been sightings of the White-tipped Black moth in Oklahoma, where it made news for being that far north of its host range, and also in Illinois. 
Further details at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  With a tip of the blogging cap to reader The Weaving One, for sending me the link.


  1. I live outside of Madison. I saw a moth in my yard as big as my hand, a few months ago. It was green. It seemed like something not normally native to these parts. I picked it up, thinking it was one of my daughter's plastic toys, but it was alive! My daughter saw it, too, and thought it was noteworthy. I don't know what it was.

    1. Probably a Luna moth -


      Very late in the season, but there I don't know of any other large green moths.

      Congratulations. They are beautiful.

    2. I should have made clear this was over the summer! Yes, that's it- and I saw the caterpillar in our Maple tree, before that. I didn't make the connection until I saw the link.

      It was so unusual. :)

  2. So glad you liked the link - I find myself paying particularly close attention to the butterflies this year

  3. I think I saw my last butterfly of the season here in Maryland last week. Ridiculous.


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