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Digital Guide to Moth Identification

Moth Photographers Group -- Contributor's Pages

There are now over 700 contributors of photographs that appear on MPG. Some of our contributors maintain collections running the gamut from a single genus, subfamily or family to the entire moth fauna of North America. Their photographs appear as left-half specimens on the pinned specimen plates, with larger photos of whole specimens on individual species pages.

Links are given below to a separate group of plates showing the larger photo collections from these contributors.

Living Moth Photo Contributions
Contributor About This Collection
Valerie G. Bugh
  • Austin, Texas Moths
  • Valerie photographs moths in her garden and at nearby locations such as the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. She has found great enjoyment rearing caterpillars to discover their identity after they pupate and eclose as adults. She also has an extensive natural history website called Larval Bug's Garden.

    Jillian Cowles
  • Southern Arizona Moths
  • Jillian lives in Vail, Arizona, about an hour south of Tuscon..

    John Davis
  • Visit Collection Pages
  • John is a retired USF&WS biologist living in Washington State. His collection is first major contribution of living moth photos from the western half of the continent. It is interesting to see how many of the species in his yard are also found in eastern North America.

    Jason Dombroskie
  • Mainly Moths of Canada
  • Jason's collection is somewhat unusual in that he has many photographs of spread specimens, living moths, as well as larvae. Most of these are from eastern Canada, some are from Alberta, a few are from the United States.

    Mark Dreiling
  • Bartlesville, Oklahoma
  • Mark has more than 500 photos at MPG, and is leading the way for others to follow by contributing specimens to the All-Leps Barcoding Project. Many of his photographs are now marked "DNA" to indicate they've been positively identified to species by DNA analysis. In a number of cases species have been identified that could not otherwise have been identified using available photo libraries.

    Charles Melton
  • Miller Canyon Moths
  • Charles lives on one of the sky islands of southeastern Arizona where the moths are plentiful, some of them found nowhere else north of Mexico. Hummingbirds and bats are some of the other flying objects that become subjects for his cameras..

    Tom Murray
  • Mainly Massachusets
  • Tom is probably the largest contributor of photographs of all kinds of insects at BugGuide. We currently show more than 700 of his photos at MPG, including many photographs of Tortricids and other micros that have yet to be identified.

    Bob Patterson
  • Some Maryland Moths

  • Archbold Biological Sta.

  • South Florida Moths

  • McGuire Center Moths
  • Bob lives in Prince George's County Maryland, near Washington, D.C.. He has photographed about 1,000 species of moths in his yard over the course of several years. Recently he has turned to photographing museum specimens.

    As opportunities arise, specimens are photographed at major collections with the aim of filling in species missing from MPG plates. These are posted with the name of the institution or collector that granted access to the material.

    Nelson Poirier
  • Moths of New Brunswick
  • Nelson lives at Moncton, NB, but does much of his photography at his fishing camp located at Little Southwest Miramichi River at Sillikers. Only a small percentage of his photos are shown here.

    David Reed
  • Minnesota Moths
  • David photographs moth in his yard and neighboring woodlands at Chanhassen, Minnesota. He also gets to spend a month or so each year on the coast of Maine. Thus, his contributions lean heavily toward northern species, especially those of the upper midwest.

    Arlene Ripley
  • Southeast Arizona Moths
  • Arlene moved from humid Maryland to arid Arizona where, at 4,720 ft. elevation in the Dragoon Mountains, she is discovering a new world of moths and other fauna. One can spend many hours browsing through her delightful website The Nestbox and her natural history blog The Curious Naturalist.

    Nolie Schneider
  • Ottawa, Ontarion
  • Nolie lives a short distance from the Ottawa River, the environs of which offer diverse habitats for insects which are attracted to her lights. She has so far photographed 700 species of moths in her yard.

    Machele White
  • Central Florida Moths
  • Machele lives in Lake Co., Florida, about midway between Ocala and Orlando. Because of her southerly location an unusually large percentage of her photos are "unique" species, not contributed so far by anyone else.

    Dick Wilson
  • Bay Center, Washington
  • For more than a decade, Dick has collected about 500 species in his yard in Bay Center, Washington. Most have been DNA barcoded making his endeavor a significant contribution to science.

    Mark de Silva
  • St. Vincent Grenadines
  • Mark lives on the island of Mayreau, not far from Grenada, in the southern Grenadines of St. Vincent. One might think that this tropical paradise would have little to do with North American moths. But the fact is that of the first 139 of his species for which identifications have been proposed 96 (69%) are on the North American list. And of those, 44 are new to MPG living moth plates. Many of his moths remain to be identified and it is to be hoped that experts in tropical lepidoptera will help in that effort.

    Contributions from Museum and Specialty Collections
    Contributor About This Collection
    Bohart Museum of Entomology
                  Visit Collection Pages

    Located at the University of California (Davis) campus, the Bohart has a good regional collection of lepidoptera. In the absence of a staff specialist curator, Jeffrey A. Smith has volunteered to help fill the breach, and it is his photographs that are an important addition to the western moths represented at MPG.

    California Academy of Sciences
                  Visit Collection Pages

    Located in San Francisco, this is California’s oldest museum and one of the world’s largest. It’s Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability houses over 46 million scientific specimens. The images in this series are mostly of western specimens photographed by Christopher C. Grinter, Collection Manager of Entomology.

    Canadian National Collection
                  Visit Collection Pages

    Photos from the CNC collection are mainly contributions by Don Lafontaine who has been interested in filling in blank spaces on MPG plates. There are more than 250 photographs of Oncocnemidinae, including 50 new species, resulting from Jim Troubridge's revision of that Noctuid subfamily.

    Florida Museum of Natural History
    McGuire Center for Lepidoptera & Biodiversity
                  Visit Collection Pages

    This collection of Geometridae and includes many species not before found on MPG plates and species pages. The moths were selected for MPG by Debbie Matthews who drew from the McGuire Center's general collection as well as from donations by Charlie Covell and the late George Austin.

    Essig Museum of Entomology
        Jerry Powell's Western Micromoths
                  Visit Collection Pages

    A different set of photos comprising this collection appears in Moths of Western North America, coauthored by Jerry Powell and Paul Opler. This is our first North American collection where, by clicking on any image, you will bring up a much larger photograph of the moth from the CalPhotos website.

    Mississippi Entomological Museum
                  Visit Collection Pages

    Located on the Starkville campus of Mississippi State University, the museum sponsors the website of the Moth Photographers Group. As at other museums the lepidoptera are an important component of the overall insect collections. At MEM the microleps are strongly represented, and are the main focus of this collection of photographs. Richard L. Brown is the museum's director.

    Strickland Entomological Museum
                  Visit Collection Pages

    Located at the University of Alberta (Edmonton), the E. H. Strickland Museum is an important resource for western Canada. The portion of their website devoted to lepidoptera contains a significant photo library and collection of species pages. Most of the photographs to be found there (also shown here) have been contributed by Gary Anweiler and Charles Bird, with emphasis on Noctuoidea and Pyraloidea. Felix Sperling is the curator.

    Texas Lepidoptera Survey
                  Visit Collection Pages

    This comes pretty close to being THE collection for the State of Texas, a joint project of the two prolific Houston collectors Ed Knudson and Charles Bordelon. Their regional publications (Rio Grand Valley, Big Bend, Caprock Canyonlands and others) are exemplars for researchers in other areas to emulate. Their check list for Texas stands at about 5,000 species of moths and butterflies. Photographs of many of them appear on plates and species pages at MPG.

    United States National Museum
                  Visit Collection Pages

    This collection is formally referred to as the USNM (National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian). The Department of Entomology at the National Museum includes research scientists and museum specialists from the Smithsonian Institution as well as from the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Systematic Entomology Lab. John Brown is curator of Tortricidae at the USNM and it is among his charges that we begin to fill in blank spots on MPG plates.

    Spread Specimen Contributions
    Contributor About This Collection
    Bob Belmont
  • Visit Collection Pages
  • Bob began collecting Geometrid moths while living in California, and continues to do so today in central Florida. He has 800+ species in his collection and he will have contributed over 1,000 photos when he finishes photographing them all. Bob serves as the Referee for Geometridae at MPG.

    Tom Dimock
  • Southwestern Moths
  • Tom lives in Ventura, CA, but collects moths throughout the southwest and even in Mexico. He specializes if finding subperb specimens and concentrates on producing fine photographs of them. He is also coauthor of new species and his specimens have frequenty been paratypes in new species descriptions.

    Chuck Harp
  • Macro Moths
  • Chuck lives in Colorado, collecting wherever opportunity arises. He specializes in the Heliothinae and serves as Referee for that group at MPG. With Michael Pogue, he is preparing a MONA Fascicle for the Heliothinae.

    Dan Janzen &
    Winnie Hallwachs
  • Costa Rican Moths
  • Why Costa Rica? Because many species found north of Mexico are also found in Costa Rica where, for a number of years, Janzen & Hallwachs have been conducting research at the Area de Conservatión Guanacaste. Links are provided on their page here to take you to their search engine.

    Eric LaGasa
  • Northwestern Defoliators
  • Eric is Chief Entomologist in the Pest Program / Plant Protection Division of the Washington State Dept. of Agriculture. He has photographed many species of Tortricidae (living and specimens) and members of numerous micormoth families. Photographs of some genitalia are included.

    SangMi Lee
  • Gelechiidae
  • SangMi began photographing the Gelechiidae while a doctoral candidate at Mississippi Entomologial Museum. Now, as a postdoc, she continues to work on the taxonomy of this family and on the description of its new species. In order to make the plates in this series as complete as possible, they include the work of other photographers.

  • Micro Collection
  • This collection derives from a wonderful website dealing with the micromoths of Illinois. Many of the species dealt with were reared from leaf mines.

    Jeffrey C. Miller
  • Northwestern Moths
  • Jeff Miller is building an innovative website at Oregon State University that will permit you to submit properly cropped photographs to match against wing patterns stored in a database. The website has gone through initial testing and now awaits full-blown development.

    Bob Nuelle, Jr.
  • Southwest Collection
  • Bob collects insects widely throughout Texas and the Southwestern States. He is also the webmaster of several websites dealing in Texas entomology and world-wide lepidoptera.

    Ken Osborne
  • Western Moths
  • Tom lives in Riverside, CA, but collects moths where opportunity takes him in Western North America. The species displayed in this collection were selected to fill in blank spaces on MPG plates.

    John Peacock
  • Page of Catocalas
  • John has a large collection of Catocala underwing moths. This page shows 27 photos of western species or species otherwise missing from the MPG plates.

    Jim Troubridge
  • Visit Collection Pages
  • Jim was a collection manager and researcher at the Canadian National Collection. Many of his photographs are also shown under Off-site Collections (listed below). There are presently more than 1,000 of his photographs, almost all micromoths, presented in this collection.

    Jim Vargo
  • Visit Collection Pages

  • Peruvian Lepidoptera
  • Jim collects moths everywhere in North America. His photo contribution to MPG is massive, with specimen photos gracing every pinned specimen plate. We may get around to posting here some day a count of photos and species. There are more than five thousand species represented in this collection.

    Jim Wiker
  • Papaipema Pages
  • Jim specializes in rearing larvae and collecting adults of the genus Papaipema (Noctuidae). His collection includes almost all species found in North America.

    Off-site Collections of Major Contributors of Pinned Specimens

    Several significant sources of pinned specimen photos that appear on MPG plates come from regional websites. These photos do not at present exist as separate collection pages at MPG but are distributed throughout the plate series.

    James Adams
  • Georgia Lepidoptera
  • James' statewide website for lepidoptera is the largest of its type in eastern North America. In addition to a very complete state check list, he shows photographs for many species found only in the deep southeastern USA. All this without a digital camera (coming online soon)!

    Gary Anweiler
  • Moths of Alberta
  • Gary is at the University of Alberta's E. H. Strickland Entomological Museum, and many of his fine photos of Noctuids originate in his kitchen sink (I am not making this up!). The website includes many other insects.

    Gerald Fauske
  • North Dakota Moths
  • Jerry's website at North Dakota State University contains species pages with maps showing county-by-county distribution of moths and host plants. He is expanding coverage within families, the Arctiidae being a recent example.

    Todd Gilligan
  • Tortricid.Net
  • Todd's photos formed the basis for the Totricidae Plates at MPG. We have so far acquired only his photos for eastern specimens, so if you need to see western species do visit his website.

    Jim Troubridge
  • Canadian Collection
  • Jim is the principal photographer of moths in the Canadian National Collection. There are more than 2,000 photographs covering all species of Geometridae and Noctuoidea at this well-indexed website. Smaller versions of these photos are to be found on MPG pinned specimen plates and species pages.

    Bruce Walsh
  • Southeastern Arizona
  • Bruce is at the University of Arizona at Tucson and covers six counties in the southeastern corner of the state. His list stands at 21 families and 1,906 species of which 62% have one or more photographs.

    Moth Photographers Group  at the  Mississippi Entomological Museum  at the  Mississippi State University