Day flying moths

Roger C. KENDRICK kendrick at
Fri Aug 27 18:43:18 EDT 1999

On day flying moth species in Hong Kong:

Lots of diurnal species here, (c.f. 225 butterfly spp.)
> 5 spp. of Sphingidae (2 Sataspes spp., Cephonodes hylas, Macroglossum
corythus, Hayesiana triopus)
> 6 spp. of Choreutidae
> 2 spp. of Sesiidae (rare, only a very few records)
> 15 spp. Zygaenidae (mostly females of some spp. with crepuscular / nocturnal
1 sp. of Callidulidae
> 11 spp. of Arctiidae (some of these are also nocturnal - 4 spp. of Nyctemera
and the rest are Syntominae)
>10 spp. of Pyralidae (crambids, pyraustines and nymphulines)
1 sp. Uranidae (Lyssa zampa)
2 spp. of Hyblaeidae
> 4 spp. of Geometridae (Dysphania militaris, Obeidia tigrata, Abraxas spp.)
> 4 spp. of Thyrididae

late afternoon / crepuscular spp. (additional to diurnal spp.)
> 20 spp. of Sphingidae (mostly Macroglossum spp., also Eupanacra and Neogurelca
> 20 spp. Tortricidae (conservative figure)
unquantified numbers of Gelechioidea, Pyralidae, some Tineids, several

Many more spp. of normally nocturnal moths (especially Geometridae and
Pyralidae) on very overcast days are active.

> Mark Walker wrote: ........ On a slightly different note, we've seen posts
> recently documenting butterfly species that have been attracted by light
> traps.  Has anyone ever disturbed a resting butterfly into taking flight at
> night (flight here would probably be short and erratic)?  .......

I regularly disturb roosting Lycaenidae at night, mostly Zizeeria / Zizina spp.
(Polyommatinae - Grass Blues) whilst inspecting moth light-traps; they tend to
fly slowly to one side or ahead of me for a short distance. Many subsequently
settle down close to the traps. A couple of weeks ago I flushed a roosting
Danaus genutia from a Casuarina tree shortly after sundown whilst surveying
Macroglossum species nectaring on Lantana and Duranta; it flew around in the
dusk for a minute or two before settling back to roost in almost the same spot
from which it had been disturbed.

> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: jhimmel at CONNIX.COM [mailto:jhimmel at CONNIX.COM]
> > Sent: Friday, August 27, 1999 9:37 AM
> > To: leps-l at
> > Subject: Day flying moths
> >
> >
> > 'O Learned Throng -
> >
> > I was asked a very interesting question - that I couldn't
> > answer.  Are there
> > more day-flying moths on the wing in North America than there
> > are butterflies on
> > a typical day?
> >
> > Any thoughts?
> >
> > John
> >
> >
> > <><><><><><><><><>
> > John Himmelman
> > Killingworth, CT USA
> > jhimmel at
> > <><><><><><><><><>
> >

 Hope this adds a little insight,


  Demonstrator / Ph.D. Student
  Dept. of Ecology & Biodiversity, The University of Hong Kong
  mailto:kendrick at

mailing address:
  Kadoorie Agricultural Research Centre, The University of Hong Kong
  Lam Kam Road, Shek Kong, Yuen Long, New Territories, HONG KONG

Hong Kong Moths website coordinator

HK Lepidopterists' Society (English version)

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