Little Drafts

Acoloithus falsarius - Clemens' False Skeletonizer

This moth goes by the name “Clemen’s False Skeletonizer.” The last part there refers to what the caterpillar does to leaves, not its ability to render things a pile of bones or transform them into He-Man villains. According to, northern Berkshire County in Massachusetts is quite far of the northward limits of the CFS’s range (Maryland); on the other hand the also has recorded sightings in Massachusetts, so this isn’t too much of anomaly apparently.

Either that or I have misidentified it. A lot of entomologists will caution lay people against going down to a species level of identification; they will often make conservative identifications themselves if it is not in the sub-field of their expertise. I am of course no entomologist, and I try to stick to this rule of thumb; I probably overstep it however. I like to pin things down — well actually the opposite is true in a literal sense, but the certainty of an identification is empowering. There can be a bit of danger though, as people tend to stick to initial judgments even in the face of wholly contradictory evidence. It makes me think of writing, of first drafts. Re-reading lets me know that it’s not “right,” but I find starting again difficult; I want to hang onto that completeness. The certainty or security of finishing is an illusion. To quote Sundiata (in reference to poems), “I never made one, that was done.”

Hopefully, my identifications are mostly in the final draft. I always welcome corrections (and I have gotten at least one or two on this website before). I am very confident I have correctly introduced our sleek little moth. The black “cape” and orange collar is reminiscent of the yellow-collared scape moth and the Virginia ctenucha, but this one has some prominent differences (for the initiated anyway), not the least of which is its much smaller size.


3 thoughts on “Little Drafts

  1. Ooops, I better lay off the species ID…lol. Kidding. There have been many times I have fingers crossed when I do a post. To the best of my knowledge (see fevered research) I hope each one is correct but I am very open to correction. I’d rather be corrected than wrong. I’d say you might be right on the money with this one though. :)

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