Friday, June 16, 2006

Datana Speedway!

Photo credits other than mine: The racetrack and cheering crowd can be seen here. That image belongs to The Mural Shoppe at "Luxurious Hand Painted Murals, Digitally Reproduced At Affordable Prices." They're in West Berlin, New Jersey. The image is actually a hand-painted mural of Daytona International Speedway. The signs and background rising above the seats can be seen here. That image belongs to Superbike Store: "Your USA Mail Order European Parts Specialists." Those folks are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Florida, the location of Daytona International Speedway and the prestigious Daytona 500, also hosts 8 species of Datana Moths. The ones shown here just happen to be turbo-charged.

Datana velociptera* (veloci, Latin for "fast" + ptera, Greek for "wing"). Datana, coined by someone named Walker in 1855, is presumed to be an anagram of Nadata, another genus Walker discovered. Bugguide.Net's explanation for "Nadata" is that it's presumed to be an anagram of Datana.** Sounds like pretty circular logic if you ask me.

The kind of circle a racetrack would make. It all starts to make sense....

Upon hatching, larvae of Datana velociptera gravitate immediately toward petroleum products, skeletonizing air intake filters in their migration toward warm engine parts. Early caterpillar molts are a dull, metallic gray, often mistaken for lead wheel weights. Later molts combine specialized spot patterns and short, fine cilii to make the larvae virtually indistinguishable from fuzzy dice.

Body shops consider them to be automotive pests, particularly during metamorphosis, when Datana velociptera pupate in chrysalids woven in the shape of five-point harnesses cemented to transmission shafts. Adult moths do not feed, though may sip the nectar of power steering oil. Mating occurs between the pages of NASCAR romance novels.

* There really is no such critter.
** On the other hand, this part really is true.

Made using MS Paint and MS Photo Editor. I've removed the race cars and other items extraneous to my je ne sais quoi. And I've changed the spelling of the race track to reflect the nature of its new competitors.

I can lay claim to the moth images:

Front view

Side view

This one was on a column at the post office mall. I knew I was looking at a moth, but I didn't know if I was looking at a chrysalid or at a moth tucked more snugly inside its wings than I'd ever seen before (the latter is the case). Thanks to Patrick Coin at Bugguide.Net for identifying it as being in the genus Datana, Family Notodontidae. Bugguide: "Distinctive as a genus, difficult as to species."

Except for the ones at the track.


Blogger Brenda Clews said...

This was fun! Moths who glue themselves to engines and eat transmission fluid indeed!

4:15 PM  

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