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Digital Guide to Moth Identification

Nolie Schneider's Moths of Ottawa, Ontario

I am a retired biologist and educator. Since 2004, I have been photographing the moths which visit my suburban back yard in Ottawa. To the north, my house is a few hundred metres from a large watercourse, the Ottawa River. To the south, the garden backs onto part of the Ottawa Greenbelt. This is an old-farm habitat, consisting of meadows, small swamps and fragments of woodland with many species of native shrubs and hardwood trees.

I use a Canon 10D, 40D or Digital Rebel xsi SLR camera, with a Canon 100mm macro lens, a 250D supplementary lens and a Canon MT24-EX Macro Twin Lite flash with Stofen diffusers. All photographs are taken handheld in manual mode, with manual focus. I shoot in RAW mode and use Photoshop CS4 for post-processing.

I have a 5' x 6' canvas sheet mounted on a PVC frame attached to the back wall of my house. A Bioquip 160 w mercury vapour light hangs in front of the sheet. Also in front of the sheet is a Leptraps light fixture, with a 24" 40W 365 Quantum BL bulb and stainless steel vanes. The funnel beneath the light leads into a plastic recycling box (see photograph). The box is filled with egg cartons, which provide spaces for the moths to roost in overnight. Many moths land on the sheet and never enter the trap: others, such as dart moths, are more commonly found in the trap. I photograph the moths from the trap just before sunrise to avoid bird predation. Other moths are photographed on the sheet, or transferred to a neutral grey background for photography. All the moths are released after being photographed.

When I started this project in 2004 I knew next to nothing about moths. Luckily, about the same time, Bob Patterson started the Moth Photographers Group. Bob, and the group of expert moth taxonomists which he has recruited, have been a wonderful resource. In Ottawa, we are also fortunate to have the Canadian Collection (CNC) of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes. Dr. J. Donald Lafontaine and Dr. Jean-François Landry of the CNC have been most generous in sharing their expertise. The CBIF Moths of Canada website and Lynn Scott's excellent Ottawa moth website have also been very helpful. Many thanks to you all.

All photographs © by Nolie Schneider

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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