Three beautiful moths spotted one early morning

I recently discovered that the lights on the outside of our townhouse attract moths in the night. So if I go outside in the early morning hours I can sometimes spot some pretty gorgeous specimens.

There’s a downside to the lights attracting insects, of course. Besides attracting mosquitoes we end up with a lot of dead insects on the sidewalk below the lights. (I’ll write more on that later.) If I had control of the lights I’d keep them off at night but I don’t. They switch on after dark automatically. Since I can’t help that, for now I’m going to focus on some of the moths I’ve been able to photograph and identify.

One early morning I saw two moths, side by side, on the outside of the screen on the kitchen window. I grabbed my phone and rushed outside to take some photos. There were actually three moths on the outside of the house that day.

First were the white-dotted prominent and Laugher moth, next to each other on the screen. I realized I needed my macro lens for some better shots and unfortunately by the time I found it and got back outside the Laugher moth was gone. So I didn’t get very good photos of that beauty.

The white-dotted prominent might not be as flashy as some moths, but it’s certainly pretty and unique, as far as I’m concerned. I love the way the “fur” on its head stands up into kind of a point or a horn. (Moth fur isn’t really fur, its scales, according to this from Smithsonian Magazine.) I also love the white dots and the delicate shades of tan, yellow and salmon adorned with rusty red lines.

The Laugher moth is pretty to me as well. It’s another very “furry” moth with black and white patterns, including beautiful swirls that look a bit like eyes to me. I wasn’t able to figure out why the moth was named laugher but every time I see the word I can’t help but accidentally read it as laughter.

The third moth was on the side of the house. Other members of the inaturalist app helped me identify it as a one-eyed sphinx. That was confusing to me at first but apparently this moth can display its hindwing, or as is the case with the photo I took, keep it hidden. So I wasn’t able to see the eye spot. It was still a beautiful moth and I enjoyed photographing and identifying it.