The Laugher and a Few Birds

Top Photo: The laugher moth caterpillar (Charadra deridens).

The name “The Laugher” given to a moth with the scientific name of Charadra deridens is named for the adult moth which supposedly has, on its folded wings, the likeness of a man laughing.

Laugher caterpillar.

I don’t have a photo of the adult moth, but there are many on the internet. If you wish to have a peek yourself here’s a link to some of those pictures at BugGuide.Net.

When looking at the images of the moth I can see 2 “eyes” on the wings but I don’t see a mouth. I tried looking at the photos in both head-up and head-down orientations.

Viewed head-down, I see a face which is more reminiscent of a goat than a laughing man. Maybe you can pick out a man from the moth’s wings.

Another laugher.
Same individual as below.

In the mean time, the common name The Laugher comes from the Latin species name of the moth deridens: deridere (to deride, mock, laugh at).

Personally, I think the caterpillar has more of a “face” than the adult moth. The pictures here may support that argument.

The face on the caterpillar changes with time. In young, or early instars of the larva, the head is mostly cream-white with black markings. In the final stage before pupating the face is mostly black with cream-colored markings, which may or may not bring to mind a face. I think it does.

A sad-faced laugher.

The last photo of the caterpillar looks more like a shrunken head.

All the photos of The Laugher are from different years during the month of October.

Sharp-shinned hawk.

Elsewhere at the museum, migration is on and birds are moving through. Here’s a handful of birds that were on the move this past week.

Bird peeking out from brush.
Northern parula.
Red-breasted nuthatch.
Ruby-crowned kinglet.
Yellow-rumped warbler (butter-butt).

There’s still plenty to come. Hooded mergansers should be arriving soon.


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