Meet the Prominents...
The Notodontoidea or Prominents are a diverse group of moths with a worldwide distribution. There are about 2600 species out of which we have about 50 or more in Ontario. They are often beautifully marked and quite robust-looking, though most of them are not large. Many prominents are remarkable for their strange-looking and usually well camouflaged caterpillars. I have to say that the prominents are my favourite moth family. I still enjoy seeing species I've caught many times before and am always striving to obtain better photos. Amazingly, after all this time, there are a couple of Ontario species which elude me still...
This is Oligocentria lignicolor, the White-streaked Prominent. This moth, along with several other prominents, rolls it's wings slightly so as to resemble a broken twig. They often sit at a 45 degree angle to their resting surface. They are amazingly well camouflaged whilst passing the daylight hours on a branch. This super moth is quite common in southern Ontario in the summer months.
This boldly marked prominent is Pheosia rimosa, the Black-rimmed Prominent. On first glance the striking, predominately black-and-white, markings on the wings suggest this moth would be an easy target. However, as you can see, when resting on the bark of a tree the moth actually blends into the background rather well. It is common in southern Ontario throughout the summer.
This complex-looking prominent is Hyperaeschra georgica, the Georgian Prominent. Again, the pattern on the wings ensures the moth is well camouflaged whilst resting on a branch or trunk of a tree and therefore relatively safe from predators. This lovely moth is uncommon, though still regular in southern Ontario through the summer months.
This crinkle-edged beauty is Datana ministra or the Yellow-necked Caterpillar Moth. It is one of six datana species which are regularly encountered in southern Ontario throughout the summer months. All are rather similar and require care to tell them apart. This is one of the more commonly seen species.
This is the somewhat odd-looking Clostera albosigma, the Sigmoid Prominent. All clostera species have the same general look about them, what with the upward pointing tuft on the tip of the abdomen and the blunt, sharply demarcated black patch on the front of the head. What a brilliant looking beast it is! This is probably our most common clostera species in southern Ontario.
So, there you have it, a very brief introduction to this fascinating family of moths. At a later stage I'll show you a few more...they are all striking in their own ways.