Underwing Moths, when clinging to tree trunks in daytime, have upper wings folded above the lower wings. The upper wings are colored as to look like patches of lichens or moss on the tree bark.
When a collector fans a lightweight weedy switch across the bark the moth flies to another tree, flashing its colorful under wings and giving away its position as its clings to another tree. A collecting jar is then carefully clamped over the moth; the moth soon is asphyxiated by the fumes in the collecting jar. The whole adventure is called “catocala hunting.” The little Ultronia Moth (Catocala ultronia) is considered a prize in any moth collection.
(Also see the lower image in a larger format.)
Copyright © 2005 William T. Hathaway.