I am going to “cheat” a little here by offering a link to an article in lieu of a blog entry. The Missouri Conservationist magazine published a shortened version of an article on underwing moths that they paid me for a few years ago. Changes in editorial staff and the format of their publication were the reasons for the delay. I am delighted to say that the new Managing Editor, Nichole LeClair Terrill, has been a joy to work with. I am looking forward to contributing more articles in the future. I would also like to thank photographer Donna Brunet for providing such a fantastic image to illustrate this current piece.
I came across this web comic this morning and thought you (and your readers) might appreciate it.
Mighta been better if he'd have used a fly instead of a wasp though!
I read the underwing article in the latest "Conservationist" and didn't even link it to you until seeing this.
The sad thing is that by all accounts, the underwings have become considerably less abundant in recent decades compared to, say, 50 years ago. We don't really know why, though we have in mind the usual suspects, pesticides and habitat destruction. Yet there are many multiples of square miles of unsprayed oak-hickory forests in Missouri, so the mystery remains. My guess would be introduced microbial pathogens or insectan parasitoids released to control something else that found [i]Catocala[/i] species to be highly suitable hosts.