A moth that keeps to the straight and narrow
Those of you who have been following this column since its early days may recall the Yin-Yang, celestial orb picture of a buttonbush flower head, Cephalanthus occidentalis, from early August of 2011. This bush (or even small tree) thrives near water, so it’s no surprise that I found one on September 5 of that year when I visited Twin Lakes Park in the town of Cedar Park, a rapidly growing suburb adjacent to the northern boundary of Austin. Not only did I find flowers, and below them buds, but on the already open flowers I found an Ailanthus webworm moth, Atteva aurea. Because of its elongated shape, colorfully patterned body, and often diurnal wanderings, the moth surprises some people by being, in fact, a moth.
© 2012 Steven Schwartzman