Saturday, May 30, 2009

Candlefly or Moth? What do you call it?

So, I was out on the porch the other morning and saw the most unusual candlefly I had ever seen. For those of you who are not from the South, a candlefly is what we call a moth.

It was so incredibly perfect with its markings, I felt compelled to research it. I found a cool website for butterfly and moth identification and it is a Clymene moth, in the Tiger moth family. I even found a site where a woman had seen one outside her church and though she had seen a sign.

Thus, the upside-down picture:

Now, do you get why she thought she was seeing a "sign"? I totally get it.

So, anyway, a while later, I was back out on the porch and our resident anole, CT (so named due to the crooked tail), came running across the porch.

He stopped in the little patch of shade just under the post where this lovely candlefly was resting. About the time I said "Oh no!! CT, don't do it!" (like a lizard can understand me), he pounced!!

Ok, so at this point, you can see that the Clymene has an orange hindwing. Because when CT got him, he was upside down in his mouth.
Let's just say it's nature at work, okay?
For more information on the Clymene moth:
I am curious as to who refers to moths as "candleflies". I know a couple of my co-workers who are not Southern bred had no idea what I was talking about when I said it.
Have you ever heard that term?


parrotmom said...

I have seen lizards go for prey but never something that big. Amazing!!! being in the right place/right time with a camera. You are one of a kind. In all my 40 somthing years I actually saw two lizards getting it on couple of summers ago.

tank said...

Wow, that moth is beautiful. Or guess I should say "was" beautiful. I've never seen one of those.

AmyAnne said...

I can't believe you caught that on camera! Awesome. One time I was taking pictures of a red tail hawk in my back yard and he suddenly hopped down and picked up a mouse! That was a cool picture to have. I'll have to look for that...

Thanks for sharing :-)

Lamar said...

We call them candleflies in wesr Tennessee.

Renee said...

We call'em Miller bugs in Alabama. I have heard the term candlefly before. But that's not what they're called here. The upside down image looks to me to be Jesus holding out his arms saying "Come to me.". I've never seen this particular one before, but my husband and I watch them quite a bit. They're colors and markings are absolutely beautiful!
I know why they call them candleflies...because they fly to the light of them. They must have been named back when people used candles and lamps for light.
Whatever they're called, they're beautiful insects. But I've always heard them called Miller bugs. Where THAT name came from, I have no idea. Have a great week!

Fred Holmes said...

Candlefly=Moth. Makes sense. I was born in Alabama 68 years ago and the other day I felt something land on my forehead. A lady nearby announced "Fred, a candlefly just landed on you!" as if I hadn't noticed.
I had NO CLUE what she meant, since I hadn't actually SEEN anything yet.
I brushed at the insect and saw a moth fly away.
I learn something interesting every day.

Stacey said...

My grandparents called them candleflies. They were born and raised in southwestern Virginia, and my grandmother lived in Kentucky for a time as a child. My mother will use the two names interchangeably.

Colin Dyer said...

That's pretty cool! I've loved candleflies for about the last 15 years. I came home one night and one had beaten itself... let's say unconscious... on my porch light. I thought it was really cool looking up close. As I was looking it over, I thought about how badly this candlefly wanted to get to the light that it was willing to die. At that moment, I had this thought come to me, "Just as the moth is attracted to the flame, so am I to the light of Christ." That's kinda become my motto.

I'm launching a new business this month. It's called Candlefly Apparel. I've updated my motto to "Drawn to the Light of Christ" which I think is pretty appropriate since it's a Christian T-Shirt business.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my impression and say thanks for sharing this awesome picture. I've never seen a candlefly with a cross on its back. That's pretty awesome!