Wednesday, October 20, 2010

In love: the moth of my dreams plus spiky spidey

First the spider, found this walking around a big rock looking for petroglyphs (not successful re: that goal, but this spider was a major coup).

Wow. Broader than my thumb, that spidey. Beautiful markings, and fits right in with the desert decor motif: spikes, spikes, and more spikes.

Looks like a moth is neatly wrapped up, but I'm not sure. Do not envy that creature. Yikes.

Anyone know what kind of spider this is?

And now, the mothy love of my life.

Seriously, mouth agape, SHOCKED at this stunner as I hopped over the railing at Keys View in Joshua Tree NP to take pictures of this scarlet blur I saw buzzing, bumping and otherwise moving in what seemed to be a struggle along the ground. At first I couldn't tell if it was maybe 2 bugs: 1 flier, trying to tame and lift off with a non-flier. What WAS clear was that SOMEbody was the MOST amazing red. Yow.

So, here is the stunner (and you can click on these to look closer, as ever):

The blurry red is mostly what I saw--it was moving pretty fast, if randomly.

LOOK at the striped belly and that dashing face! Rowr!

Could this creature BE more spectacular?!?

I feel SO LUCKY that I got to see this


What ARE the odds? I was at Keyes View probably 5 minutes that day.


Maybe it's good chicken/cat karma?

Or maybe, I'm just VERY lucky. =)

Okay: so now I think I've figured out it's Hemileuca electra. This is the species a friend of mine was working on which caused us to meet (I was research/permit person, among other duties, at my park at the time).

[Update: just got a confirmation from him, and he thinks it's a male Hemileuca electra clio. See, ya get species AND subspecies when dealing with an expert. Nice. Thanks, Dan!]

Here's a video of Hemileuca electra emerging and expanding their wings, mating, and laying eggs.

How cool (at least visually, if not socially) would it dress up to be one of these moths for Halloween?


Nature continues to knock my socks off.

xoxo biobabbler (sockless)


  1. P.S. I may have neglected to mention I LOVE RED and am semi-obsessed with black and white together (have black and white thin-striped jammies, love black and white polka dots, etc.) So this moth KILLS me.

  2. So very cool! both the spidey and the moth! Nature really is cool. And you're cool to share it!

  3. You were lucky! Beautiful!! So sad for the other white moth. Great sightings and photos! ;>)

  4. Today I came across a short story titled 'The Moth' and written by HG Wells. As I read the story I kept imagining the moth to look like the one you managed to capture in the photos above. The story concerns two rival entomologists, the aforementioned moth, and madness. You can download a free(legal) PDF of the story here: The Moth.

  5. @Sparky: ooh! I will be looking that puppy up, for sure! Thanks for the lead! =)

  6. Both of theses are amazing creatures and I have never seen either before - live or in pictures.

  7. I've been doing some research for you on the spider and finally have an ID for you from a spider is Araneus gemma or sometimes called "Cat-Faced Spider".

    The Buck Moth is simply gorgeous!!!!!


Cool people write inside rectangles....