American Museum of Natural History,
Winged Tapestries: Moths at Large, an exhibition of 34 striking images featuring dramatic images of moths, opens Saturday, September 29 at the American Museum of Natural History. On view in the IMAX Corridor on the first floor through September 29, 2013, the exhibition displays the arresting beauty and surprising diversity of moths from Ottawa-based photographer Jim des Rivières.
“Moths are beautiful, and in many respects prettier than butterflies,” says exhibition curator David Grimaldi, curator, Division of Invertebrate Zoology. “In this show, we have macro or relatively large moths. They’re gorgeous.”
As a complement to the Museum’s popular butterfly exhibition, Winged Tapestries presents a full view of Lepidoptera.“Few people realize that butterflies are moths,” says Dr. Grimaldi, who is also the curator of The Butterfly Conservatory: Tropical Butterflies Alive in Winter. “The distinction between the two is like that between mammals and canines, or mammals and felines. Butterflies are just a more recently evolved lineage of day-flying lepidopterans.”
Primitive moths appeared about 195 million years ago, whereas the oldest butterfly fossil is about 55 million years old. And today, moths outnumber butterflies 15 to 1, with approximately 150,000 described species of moths worldwide, compared to 10,000 butterfly species.
Winged Tapestries: Moths at Large will discuss characteristics of moths and ways in which they differ from butterflies, how moths elude predators, and the life stages of a moth, all within a stunning display of close-up images of these beautiful creatures.
To create these fascinating, larger-than-life images, des Rivières scans each moth specimen at a very high resolution of 4800 dpi. The results are spectacular—huge images that reveal the hidden beauty of moths collected in the Ottawa region and highlight how complex and colorful these seemingly dull brown moths are, often displaying intricate paisleys and tweeds.
Species featured in the exhibition include the luna moth (Actias luna), the scarlet-winged lichen moth (Hypoprepia miniata), and The Common lytrosis (Lytrosis unitaria).
Also on view will be specimens from the Museum’s collection of each of the 34 species whose images appear in the exhibition. With some 3.5 million specimens, the Museum’s collection of moths and butterflies is among the five largest in the world.
The exhibition curator for Winged Tapestries: Moths at Large is David Grimaldi, curator in the Division of Invertebrate Zoology.
Winged Tapestries: Moths at Large, featuring the art of Jim des Rivières, is produced by the Canadian Museum of Nature. The presentation of Winged Tapestries: Moths at Large at the American Museum of Natural History is made possible by the generosity of the Arthur Ross Foundation.