Moth Evening with Seabrooke Leckie

By Joe Sebastiani, Seasonal Program Team Leader

Last Wednesday, we were excited to host an evening with Seabrooke Leckie, co-author of the new Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern North America.  Seabrooke is on a book tour and had a night to stop by Ashland for a lecture and moth capturing and identifying session.  After an informative lecture about moths and a book signing, the 40 participants went to the lodge to examine white sheets and lamps to capture moths.

Participants look for moths attracted to the light and white sheet and capture them wtih a small jar.

Jar after jar containing a captured moth were brought into the lodge for Seabrooke to identify.  Seabrooke knew these moths like an experienced birder calls out flitting birds in the treetops.  She knew the all by sight and only had to look in her new book a few times for verification.  It was amazing to see the diversity, and to see how quickly she knew what each moth was.  Most were of the “little brown moth” variety that you might see at your porch light, but others were colorful, and all were exquisitely detailed.

A Virginia Creeper Sphinx moth was a popular find during our mothing event.

We were all thrilled to learn so many new species, and we all kept running in and out of the building to find more for Seabrooke to identify.  Freshly bought books were being marked in, and notes were taken as to what we found that night.

Seabrooke Leckie identifies a moth that Holly Merker brings in from the wild.

Explicit Arches was a moth that the author had never seen before, and it is at the northern end of its range here in Delaware, so at the end of the night it went with her for a photography session.  Her photo of it is below, and if you see the caterpillar of this plant eating something, get a picture, because no one knows what the host plant is for this insect.

Explicit Arches (Lacinipola explicata) is a moth that the author had never seen before. Photo by Seabrooke Leckie

If you are interested in purchasing the new moth book, we still have a few copies here at Ashland Nature Center selling for $29.  Stop in and get one!  Also, visit Seabrooke Leckie’s website at to see what she is up to and say hi!

Many of the participants wanted the list of moths that were seen and identified that night, so here they are in no particular order:

  • White Spring Moth – Lomographa vestaliata
  • Rustic Quaker – Orthodes majuscula
  • Celery Leaftier – Udea rubigalis
  • Bristly Cutworm – Lacinipolia renigera
  • Harnessed Tiger Moth – Apatantesis phalerata
  • Ursula Wainscot – Leucania ursula
  • Explicit Arches – Lacinipolia explicata
  • Bilobed Looper – Megalographa biloba
  • Hop Vine Moth – Hypena humuli
  • Yellow-collared Scape Moth – Cisseps fulvicollis
  • The Slowpoke – Athetis tarda
  • Agreeable Tiger Moth – Spilosoma dubia
  • Pale Gray Bird-dropping Moth –
  • Blackberry Looper – Chlorochlamys chloroleucaria
  • Bent-line Carpet – Costaconvexa centrostrigaria
  • Texas Mocis – Mocis texana
  • The Wedgeling – Galgula partita
  • Isabella Tiger Moth – Pyrrharctia isabella
  • Great Black Letter Dart – Xestia dolosa
  • Yellow-collared Slug Moth – Apoda y-inversum
  • Delicate Cycnia – Cycnia tenera
  • Lucerne Moth – Nomophila nearctica
  • Diamondback Epinotia – Epinotia lindana
  • Virginia Creeper Sphinx – Darapsa myron

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