Today’s post is from Kevin Gevaert, Senior Discovery Staff at Rondeau Provincial Park.
Not many people like the idea of staying in the woods after dark.
It may seem daunting or even scary to most, but experiencing the forest of Rondeau Provincial Park at night is something you won’t soon forget.
The billions of stars in the night sky, the sound of owls hooting, coyotes howling in the distance, and the strange buzzing of mosquitoes are all part of the magic that makes the night here in Rondeau so special.
Things really start to appear when we shed a little light on the topic!
A mamMOTH number
Mothing in Rondeau has become an increasingly popular activity in recent years.
Two-spotted sphinx. Photo: Kevin Gevaert
More than 550 species have been recorded in the park, out of an estimated total of approximately 3,000 species across Ontario. That’s a lot of moths!
These nocturnal insects come in a wide range of shapes, sizes and colors. Each moth has its own unique markings, making each individual special in its own way.
Moths are a large group of insects that are easy to find. They are commonly seen in many light sources, including backyard porch lights and ultraviolet black lights.
Moth lovers can use a moth sheet to check the species in their area. A moth sheet is simply an old white sheet shined with a garden light.
On a good night, it is common to find over 50 species on a single moth leaf!
I see the light!
Rondeau’s Discovery staff and volunteers have been keeping track of records of moths and other insects since the 1940s.
As for me, my love for moths began a few years ago when I started taking photographs of the moths I saw on the sides of the walls of the Visitor Center before my morning shift.
Moth Io. Photo: Kevin Gevaert
As I became more and more familiar with the species that would greet me at the start of my day, I began to wonder what else I might find.
This became a morning routine and eventually became a hobby that I also do after hours!
Celebrating National Moth Week
National Moth Week is a community science initiative that encourages everyone to leave a couple of lights on at night and see what attracts them.
You can contribute by sending photos of your winged visitors to iNaturalist. iNaturalist is a fantastic platform that makes it easy for beginners to identify moths.
Ultronia under the wing. Photo: Kevin Gevaert
By participating in this initiative, you are contributing to provincial records and helping to understand the ecology, distribution and diversity of moths.
Mothing is not only a resource management initiative, it is also a fun hobby and a great way to spend an afternoon in nature.
The search for new and rare species in the provinces is what drives me to continue searching. It’s always exciting to find something you’ve never seen before.
Something as incredibly colorful as a Rosy Maple or an Io Moth may be the moth that catches your attention and turns you into a moth lover!
Pink maple moth. Photo: Kevin Gevaert
National Moth Week encourages me to get out of the house and explore Rondeau’s incredible nocturnal diversity more often than usual.
I encourage everyone to leave a couple of lights on at night. Who knows, you might be surprised by what shows up on your doorstep!