This moth decided to have a little apple and was not bothered by the fact it was already being consumed by a 21-month-old boy. I love the look that came across his face as he stared at the moth and was quite intrigued. He called it a “bubberfly” and it was eating his apple. It’s moments like this I am thankful that my camera is always ready to go.
Camera settings: 1/100 sec, f/2.2, ISO 100, 35mm, f/1.8, window light, no flash.
See the proboscis, his tubular feeding and sucking organ? If you had asked me before today if moths consumed apples I would have said NO! But here he is having a taste of my grandbaby’s apple.
After watching the bubberfly for a bit he decided to touch it, I thought it would fly away but it crawled right onto his finger and quickly started shivering it’s wings. We watched in amazement, I had never seen a moth do this before and I wondered if maybe it was hurt and couldn’t fly. After a minute or so the bubberfly took flight. After doing a little research about why and what species of moths do this, here is what I discovered… Keep scrolling to find out.
This is a Zale Lunata from the Family Noctuidae (nawk-TOO-ih-dee) – Owlet Moths, and sometimes called a cutworm moth. They must warm their flight muscles for a minute or two before they can fly. They do this by shivering; the flight muscles vibrate in opposition to each other rather than in synchrony as they would in flight. If disturbed too much the moth may drop onto the ground and flop its wings vigorously. After a while the moth will cease flopping, then continue to “warm up”. When it is ready it will take off and fly to “safety”.
So what do these large shivering winged bubberflys eat? They are attracted to moth bait and will consume the juices from rotting fruit or in our case, a little boy’s somewhat eaten (not rotten) apple.
You can “see” the shivering wings in the photo below and I’m in LOVE the intent gaze upon my grandbaby’s face as he sat so very still, amazed in the wonder of a shivering bubberfly.