Moths on Reptiles

If I had a nickel for every observation I have seen where the voucher photo is a moth resting on a reptile I would have 2 nickels. Which isn’t a lot, but strange that it happened twice.

Please enjoy both of these observations:
Grape Berry Moth on a Skink - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/126078396
Constricted Sonia Moth on a Black Swamp Snake - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/5888247

4 Likes

Not a moth but you might also enjoy this one!

2 Likes

Indeed I do enjoy that observation!

1 Like

Any idea why they would choose to land & rest on a reptile? Moisture, salt, other excretions, or microbiome maybe?

It makes me think of how some moths are attracted to a mixture of beer (or yeast), overripe fruit (banana) ,and sugar (molasses) applied to trees. e.g. https://nationalmothweek.org/2011/12/28/sugar-baits-for-moths-winter-fun/

The second link is at night time, so almost certainly attracted to the light and it’s just a coincidence that the snake was there.

1 Like

Butterflies count, right? They’re just a subset of moths… https://www.inaturalist.org/blog/53084-a-butterfly-alights-on-a-snake-head-observation-of-the-week-6-8-21

2 Likes

I’m guessing that all of these are college aged, male moths, right?

I mean, drive a badass reptile, head out some night and chug some beer…

3 Likes

At first I thought you said “teenaged” and it made me think that teenage moths are probably pupating.

There’re so many photos of turtles with butterflies on them, they drink their salt tears, maybe there’s something on their dry skin too?
image

4 Likes

Here’s another one I found:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/145349965

Not a reptile, but a tree frog this time.

1 Like

Most likely that large aggregations of multi-sex individuals as in the photo is for more than reptile tears. Possibly waiting for excretia?
There is a healthy dose of calcite and magnesium salts in their poo which certain butterfly families love! (Papillionidae comes to mind)

I think they definitely won’t pass anything with salts in it!