Top News

The Journal Pioneer

CINDY DAY: A moth, by any other name

Another sighting, this one in Nova Scotia. Irma MacDonald came across this beautiful moth last Friday, in Eastern Passage, N.S. According to the owner, it was there when she arrived to open the shop at 8 a.m.; it was still there when Irma left at 9:30.
Another sighting, this one in Nova Scotia. Irma MacDonald came across this beautiful moth last Friday, in Eastern Passage, N.S. According to the owner, it was there when she arrived to open the shop at 8 a.m.; it was still there when Irma left at 9:30. - Contributed

Last Monday, I shared a gorgeous photo of a moth that was taken on Prince Edward Island. Not that there is anything wrong with being plain, but this moth certainly was not.

The winged beauty was incorrectly identified as a Polyphemus moth. Before noon, I had received two emails about it. I am certainly no expert, but after consulting with “Mr. Google”, the colours didn’t seem quite vivid enough. Then this lovely email came from Jim:

“Hi, I wanted to point out an error in the caption of the photograph, Cindy’s snapshot, Monday, June 29. The moth in the photo is not a Polyphemus; it is a Columbia Silk Moth, one of five species of Giant Silk Moth found in the Maritime provinces. It feeds on larch and has the most restricted range of any of the silk moth species in Canada. There have probably been very few of these seen in Prince Edward Island.

There are many very knowledgeable insect enthusiasts in the Maritimes and there is a Facebook page called The Insects and Arachnids of Atlantic Canada where you can check moth, or in fact any, insect or spider identifications.

I am taking the time to point out this mistake only because I know there is a quickly growing interest in plants, birds, insects, and in the whole natural world and people should have the correct facts. It is important to know our wild neighbours. Thanks, Jim Edsall, Dartmouth, N.S.

By the time I checked my email Monday morning, Irma and Jim MacDonald had posted another lovely photo of a Columbia Silk Moth.

Grandma used to say that the day was not lost if you learned something new before you went to bed. Thank you for the clarification, Jim. I'll be on the lookout for these beauties.


Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network

Recent Stories