Identifying Moths and Butterflies

Open field with trees

Photo: Anna Ozab

Yesterday, the after-school program Anna attends each Wednesday took a field trip to Mount Pisgah Arboretum, southeast of Eugene. I went along as one of the parent volunteers. It was a beautiful day for a hike and Anna brought along her camera. She took pictures of frogs, birds, squirrels, and flowers, and at one point she snapped this shot.


Photo: Anna Ozab

I have no idea when she took it. I never saw the little guy until yesterday evening when Julia found him while editing Anna’s photos. My daughter has inherited her mom’s eye for detail.

It’s good enough that we’re considering entering it in the fair this summer—depending on how the print comes out—but before we do I’d like to know what kind of moth it is. I looked online hoping I would find one that looked similar enough that my untrained eye could identify it. Instead I found something better.

Butterflies and Moths of North America has an identification page where you can submit a photograph along with the time and place of the sighting and a lepidopterist will identify your mystery moth or butterfly. All you have to do is sign up for a free account and fill out a simple form with an attached photo. (I submitted Anna’s photo this morning and once I hear back I will post the response in the comments.)


Photo: Julia Ozab

Anna loves butterflies. Last year in first grade she learned about the lifecycle of the butterfly and together with her class raised caterpillars and released them after they became butterflies. She also learned words like chrysalis and metamorphosis. Given her love of butterflies and moths, I can see her taking a lot more pictures and learning a lot more from the helpful folks at Butterflies and Moths of North America.

Most Thursdays on Fatherhood Etc. we’ll learn something new in a series called “Thursday’s Child.” See you next week.

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