Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bird poop

What: I was hauling a 5-gallon bucket of water in to Crow's Path on Sunday in prep for our first day of summer camp, when I spotted this little guy. It only caught my attention because it was soooo white. It looked exactly like a pile of bird poop. Even the head has black ridges that mimic the stool part of bird droppings (the stool is coiled and green/brown/purplish, depending on diet).

I apologize for the blurriness of the photo - for a better detailed image google "beautiful wood nymph moth" or "Eudryas grata". I met up with Zac and about an hour later we came back and the moth was still there (we took the photo with his phone). I finished getting the site ready then went for a run. At the end of my run it had started to rain and when I checked in on the moth it was gone. I spotted this individual the edge of a field. According to my research, the most reliable indicator of where you'll find this species in our area is the presence of grape and Virginia creeper, both of which are hosts to the caterpillar.

I'm a bit perplexed by its latin name, Eudryas grata. "Eu-" as a prefix means good, pleasant, or normal (as in the base condition). Think euphonic (pleasant + sound), eutrophic (well + nourished), or euphemism (good + speaking, or using a pleasing word in place of a less ominous/offensive one). Dryas comes from the Greek for wood nymph. Dryads were hard to find woodland critters that one only caught brief glimpse of. Grata indicates "acceptable".


  1. Wow, the little guy really is a cutie. :)

    1. Unfortunately it was a cell phone photo, so quality's not great, but indeed they are rather photogenic.