Monday, September 12, 2016

work of art

Ermine moth (Ailanthus webworm)

TN Naturalist @ Ijams student Kathy Reilly has been seeing a small insect with odd coloration. I knew what it was, her description brought to mind a story I posted four years ago...

High on my "to-do" list was getting a photo of an ermine moth—specifically the Ailanthus webworm—because the boldly patterned, black, white and orange insects remind me of one of my favorite artists, French painter and sculptor Jean Dubuffet. Although I do not remember the color orange as being part of Dubuffet's pallette.

As their scientific name suggests, the moths are generally found on their host plant ailanthus, an introduced tree also known as "Tree of Heaven." The webworm moths are native to the tropics and south Florida but have expanded their range north as the alien trees became widespread.

Nature is in a constant state of flux. Give and take. Yin and Yang.

Although linked to the ailanthus, this week I located several of the short (slightly less than an inch in length) moths on common milkweed at Ijams.

Outdoor sculpture
Monument with
Standing Beast

by Jean Dubuffet
located in Chicago.


Scott said...

I like how everything blends together. The way you describe it. And Monument with Standing Beast and the cityscape being part of it. Ecology. Thanks.

Marie said...

I'm glad you got the photo of the caterpillar! And I can see why he reminds you of the sculptor!

Patricia Lichen said...

Oh yeah! love the connection between the moth and Dubuffet!