Throughout the summer I visited a wide range of natural areas with very unique habitats. Because of this, I was able to see a nice diversity of moths and other insects as they appeared on the sheet. I try to use a mercury vapor/UV light combo to maximize the light range and hopefully bring in more insects. As I discovered, the UV light by itself proved to be strong enough to bring in a nice range of moths and other insects. On most of the blacklighting trips I ended up just solely using the UV light. The setup below was my go to with the UV light.
In the early summer I took a few trips to Stebbins Cold Canyon and different areas of the Mendocino NF. At Cold Canyon I often encountered the usual species at the lights, but on occasion, something uncommon would appear. Large underwing moths (Catocala sp.), as well as a few species of tiger moths made some brief appearances. The area of Mendocino NF where I setup my blacklight had a much different habitat type compared to Cold Canyon. This area was at a much higher elevation and had more of a pine forest/ manzanita shrubland. As an added bonus, the area in the photo above was also right next to a permanent spring, adding even more diversity to the surrounding vegetation.
I unfortunately wasn’t able to blacklight in more areas like I had hoped to, but I will be doing more summer trips in 2019. As for 2018, I was able to collect a good number of species I had not seen or had only rarely seen in the past. I was able to encounter an incredible number of Hyalophora euryalus at my blacklight in the Mendocino NF, which was a very surprising and amazing moment for me. On the same night I was able to see a large number of different color variantions of the Ornate tiger moth and a few species of sphingids, including Shinx vashti, Sphinx drupiferarum, and Smerinthus cerisyi.
The midsummer blacklighting was decent and although I wasn’t able to do any notable blacklighting in the late summer, I still managed to have a few blacklighting sessions in the fall. The moths in the photos above came from Sagehen Creek Campground, which was located not too far from the research station. The night time temperatures were a little too cold to have a fully active sheet, but the moths and other insects that did show up were worth the effort. Plume moths, Noctuids, and Geometrids were the most common and a few beetles also made an appearance. I am hoping summer of 2019 will prove to be a more fruitful and exciting year.