While exchanging emails with Patrick from The Anomalist, he directed me to a site that I had until now, completely missed. Actually, it did look familiar, but I couldn’t find it in my 700+ bookmarks…hmmm, wonder why?
While browsing the site, I came upon a creature that I concluded was either some weird offshoot of Mothman or an imaginative photoshop. After shaking the cobwebs out, I did remember seeing it before in fairy stories, etc…but had never wasted more than a minute or two due to it looking very artificial. As I read on, I would soon discover that this strange looking beast was in fact, very real.
Lets read along as Dr. Shuker gives us an education in the art of interweb detective work:
MYSTERY OF THE VENEZUELAN POODLE MOTH – HAVE YOU SEEN THIS INSECT??
On 21 August 2012, Facebook friend David Laslett drew my attention to the eyecatching and exceedingly interesting photograph opening this present ShukerNature blog post. He explained that the photo had lately appeared all over the internet, and was labelled as ‘the Venezuelan poodle moth’. Yet in spite of this insect’s memorable name and very unusual appearance, and although he had spent a considerable time online attempting to identify it, David had not been able to find out anything whatsoever concerning it, not even its scientific name – only ever more copies of this same photograph and the same name applied to its furry-limbed, white-winged subject.
Greatly intrigued, David asked me if I knew this moth’s species and whether I could trace any information regarding it. And so, without further ado, and as Sherlock Holmes might well have said in such a situation, the game was afoot!
I love a challenge!!
It was a species that I’d never seen before, so I spent quite a time researching its photograph, its name, and its supposed provenance (Venezuela) online, but, just as David had reported, nothing! The photo had appeared on many websites recently, but with no additional details. Consequently, as someone who has exposed various hoax wildlife photographs in the past, such as those purportedly depicting genuine black lions and multi-headed cobras, I naturally began to wonder whether the poodle moth was the Photoshopped creation of a poodle-faker!
Happily, however, I was proven wrong, because eventually I traced the photographer responsible for this enigmatic snapshot, and discovered that he was a bona fide zoologist called Dr Arthur Anker (or Art for short), from Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, who had snapped this picture plus many additional (and equally breathtaking) photographs of Venezuelan insects and other wildlife while visiting Venezuela during the winter of 2008/9.
His poodle moth photograph was snapped on 1 January 2009, and appears in his ‘Venezuelan Gran Sabana’ photoset and also in his ‘Neotropical Moths’ photoset. However, he had not included a scientific name for it, merely ‘Poodle moth, Venezuela’, together with details of the camera and photo-settings used when taking this particular macro-photograph. These were: NIKON E8700, f/6.6, 1/4000 sec, 27.3mm, ISO 50.
When I emailed Art to ask if he knew this moth’s species, he informed me that he did not, and he also revealed that no other zoologist he’d spoken to knew either. Indeed, no-one had even been able to name its genus! As for its common name, conversely, Art informed me that it was he who had thought up the apt and very memorable name of ‘poodle moth’ for it.
Read more on this fascinating subject here….
Dr. Shuker goes on to differentiate between the Muslin Moth and the Poodle Moth, as the Muslin is often mistakenly labeled as a Poodle Moth. As we can see below in this photo of a Muslin, the two are clearly different in many respects.
So, the question is, are these two species of moth related? Dr. Shuker hit a dead end trying to come up with an answer and is reaching out to anyone who may provide some insight into the subject.
I’ll definitely be following along as I plan to spend a lot more time at ShukerNature in the future. I recommend it to anyone who is as fascinated as I am about the many strange living things we didn’t know existed as well as the cryptids that may not exist at all.
Thanks to ShukerNature for educating us on the amazing Poodle Moth. Additional sources are as follows: