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Digital Guide to Moth Identification

John Davis's Moths of the Pacific Northwest

I worked as a biologist for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for 30 years and retired in 2004. I have always been interested in the natural history, identity and role of the animals, plants, fungi, lichens, mosses, birds, butterflies, moths, etc. I have been doing some photography for many years, but I have really been busy with the new digital photography since I retired. I've been adding some of my Photos at and will continue to add more as time goes on. I just started trying to get moth photos last summer. Most of the moth photos are taken at night after being attracted to lights in my yard or in the field. I use a dezapped bug-zapper, a small fluorescent shop light and a black light next to a sheet, which altogether draw about 75 watts. In the field I use a deep cycle battery and an inverter to give ac. Seems to work pretty well and is not expensive.

I'm currently using a Nikon D70 with a 105mm or 200mm macro lens. I almost always use a flash without a tripod which helps stop any hand tremor and gives more mobility. I now do nearly all my photos in the RAW mode, which gives me much more control on how the photos look. I process the photos in Adobe Camera Raw, adjusting exposure, black and white points, brightness, and cropping as needed. I then process the adjusted RAW photos via an Action in PhotoshopCS2 where the image is resized, dpi set, and sharpened. For most of my photos I don't do any manipulation or enhancement. I'm doing what a digital camera does internally if you shoot jpg's, but I can control the process more. If I get a decent photo to begin with, I don't have to do much. I can always go back to the original RAW photo and "redo" it without ever harming the original.

I thank Gary Anweiler, Lars Crabo, Paul Hammond, Chris Schmidt, Jon Shepard, Jim Vargo, and many of the folks at BugGuide.Net for identifications and corrections.

All photographs by John Davis

The Collection

  • Plate 01.0

  • 0001 - 2700  :  Micromoths
  • Plate 02.0

  • 2701 - 4702  :  Tortricidae through Limacodidae
  • Plate 03.0

  • 4703 - 6255  :  Crambidae through Drepanidae
  • Plate 04.0

  • 6256 - 6425  :  Geometridae
  • Plate 05.0

  • 6426 - 6844  :  Geometridae
  • Plate 06.0

  • 6855 - 7181  :  Geometridae
  • Plate 07.0

  • 7182 - 7648  :  Geometridae
  • Plate 08.0

  • 7649 - 8032  :  Epiblemidae through Notodontidae
  • Plate 09.0

  • 8033 - 8321  :  Arctiidae through Lymantriidae
  • Plate 10.0

  • 8322 - 9198  :  Noctuidae
  • Plate 11.0

  • 9199 - 10264 : Noctuidae
  • Plate 12.0

  • 10265-11233 : Noctuidae

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

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    JDIndex.shtml -- 03/15/2009