Long story short: Earlier in the day, I got a phone message about a pair of mating Blinded Sphinx Moths in Allendale -- would I be interested in releasing them at the Moth Ball?
Alas, the Moth Ball was night before, and by the time I got the message, the moths had been relocated and only one of the moths could be found, the female.
I put the moth in a cat carrier for safekeeping, drove home, and waited until dark to release it in an area where it had plenty of host plants to choose from -- including many oaks.
It was a great learning experience. (More info and links follow.)
* The moth, a fairly common moth, is a female (you can tell because of her thin antennae). More on moth antennae here.
* The moth is called a Blinded Sphinx Moth because the circles on its patrially pink underwings lack the typical back spots that resemble pupils.
* I knew already to never release a moth during the day, where it could be gobbled up by a hungry bird. I also waited until well after dusk, when the local bats had dispersed.
More on Blinded Sphinx Moths here.
More on Sphinx Moths (also called Hawk Moths) here.
The photo accompanying the next post is of a Hummingbird Clear-wing Moth, a diurnal sphinx moth.
(Thanks to Pete Branigan and Adam Keeble for their help!)