Beginning in the fall of 2005, I decided to try photographing the moths that came to our house lights each night. I never expected to end up with a list of well over 300 moth species in the course of that first year. Most surprising was the diversity that  five ordinary 60 watt light bulbs could attract -- and it wasn't only moths that I found -- there were insects of all kinds (see my insect photo galleries and look for the photos that were taken at night), as well as arachnids, amphibians and mammals. It's difficult to hold a camera steady and duck a bat at the same time! This area of my website has been created  to share these moth photos with others who might also be curious about these delicate winged-creatures. It has been a very  rewarding project and I'm learning a lot about these less-charismatic relatives of butterflies. Your feelings about moths might change when you see how beautiful many of them are -- mine certainly did.

The moths in the photos were identified with several aids. First and foremost, I must thank Bob Patterson of Bowie, MD who never turned down my many requests to identify a moth from a digital photo. I didn't know about Bob's work until well after I started my moth photography project.  Bob not only has his own website -- Moths of Prince George's County, MD but has developed and maintains the monumental website Moth Photographers Group which is hosted by Mississippi State University. This site welcomes photos from moth photographers all over North America. It is a treasure and wonderful resource. I refer to it frequently as I attempt to identify my photos but because I am strictly an amateur at moth identification there is the distinct possibility that some are misidentified. So, coupled with the fact that many moths are at best difficult to ID under any circumstances (e.g. the micromoths), there could be and probably are errors on these pages. I welcome any corrections, comments or suggestions.

Publications cited in the Species Plates are:

  • Peterson Field Guide to Eastern Moths by Charles V. Covell, Jr.

  • Caterpillars of Eastern North America by David L. Wagner

Regarding the layout of these pages, I must again thank Bob Patterson who has made the HTML available to anyone who wants to set up a similar site (see the introductory page of Moth Photographers Group). I have used Bob's basic design, tailoring it to the colors and layout of my primary website thus saving me hours of work. This section will always be a work in progress with new species added when identified.

Arlene Ripley -- 1/6/07