Had my first night of black-lighting with the mercury vapor light – pretty decent turn out. I got six species of Acronictines, but they were all males. I’m really hoping for some females in order to get eggs!
My friend and I also encountered some other interesting creatures. That is bound to happen when you set up a light and sheet at night.
Here is the set up: The base is a projector screen (looks to be about 1970s, cost $5 at a garage sale), covered by a sheet. We hung the mercury vapor light from a branch to hold it away from the sheet (my advisor has many sheets with holes burned into them).
Some of the earliest visitors were the luna moths (Actias luna). These were both males – I could tell based on the antennae, and small size of their abdomens.
This giant water bug (Lethocerus americanus) sounded like a small helicopter coming toward the sheet – and then it hit me on the back of the head! It was a feisty one.
The water bug made a friend at the sheet – an equally as large hydrophilid, a water beetle. Luckily hydrophilids are scavengers, so they do not have the same terrifying beak as the water bug. They are so smooth you can hardly pick them up.
A very pretty moth – the hog sphinx, (Darapsa myron).
I am excited for future black-lighting endeavors this summer.