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I look forward to warm summer evenings with good friends, chilled bottles of wine and dozens of moths. I am lucky to have a friend who introduced me to the outrageous nocturnal Lepidoptera species in my own backyard. She inspired in me a newfound love and respect for creatures that I didn’t really pay much attention to before.

Clymene Moth, photo by Lauren Gilpatrick
Rosy Maple Moth, photo by Melissa Duron

A simple white sheet hung under a black light attracts dozens of colorful visitors that delight my “Moth Night” guests and pose unique identification challenges as we flip through field guides, laugh over pronunciation options and free associate our own names for species. The moths arrive in all shapes and sizes, representing every color of the rainbow.

Cherry Scallop Shell, photo by Lauren Gilpatrick

If you’d like to learn more about the moths in your backyard (and maybe host a “Moth Night” of your own), a great book to start with is the “Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern North America” by David Beadle and Seabrooke Leckie. A useful website is www.bugguide.net. For more information on how to celebrate moths visit www.nationalmothweek.org.

Lauren Gilpatrick is a certified wildlife biologist who lives in Freeport.

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