Currently viewing the category: "Moths"
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Subject: Beautiful Winged ?????
Location: South Florida
October 25, 2014 3:20 pm
Earlier today I discovered, thanks to your website, that the white weevils that have been eating our Blackbead, Bay Cedar and Hollies are non-native beetles from Sri Lanka. So when I was out watering this afternoon and saw this beautiful winged insect that I could not identify I immediately thought of your site.
It is very deep, somewhat iridescent blue with white spots on most of its body including underside and legs. It is bright red back at the end of its abdomen. The wing span appears to be about 1.75″ and it is sitting on my desert rose plant in South Florida, in Broward county.
Signature: OutGardening

Polka Dot Wasp Moth

Polka Dot Wasp Moth

Dear OutGardening,
The Polka Dot Wasp Moth really is a pretty insect.  Its caterpillars feed on oleander.

Thank you very much Daniel! I would never have guessed it is a moth!

Hi again Gina,
Most people assume that all moths are small, dull colored, nocturnal creatures that eat clothes.  This diurnal Polka Dot Wasp Moth is brightly colored, and the species is also a very effective wasp mimic which provides it some protection against predators.

Hi Daniel,
From its wing shape and the iridescence color it reminded me of a dragonfly although when I first saw just the flash of white spots and red color I was excited thinking I had another atala butterfly. I’ve been hoping that our coonties would attract more atalas but so far have only seen one. But this moth is quite exciting and beautiful to watch in the garden, although I may not leave all her eggs on my little lone desert rose.
I’ve learned since starting our butterfly and native garden a few years ago, that there is such a variety of moths and that they seem to overlap in appearance and characteristics with the butterflies. Many butterflies I’m meeting in the garden appear more like what I used to think of as moths. It’s been an exciting journey into gardening, learning not only about native/invasive plants but the birds, butterflies and now into bugs! Today I was out picking the Sri Lanka weevils off some of our plants that have been so badly eaten by them, after learning from your site what those little white bugs were.
Thanks for providing a great resource and website! And your personal replies!

Thanks for your followup information Gina.  We did not know what an “atalas” was and upon looking it up on BugGuide, we learned that Eumaeus atala, the Atala Hairstreak, is endangered and it has caterpillars that feed on a native cycad known as a “coontie”.  Thanks so much for the education.  We hope you are able to provide us with an image of an Atala Hairstreak soon.  We are thrilled that you are learning about the interconnectivity of life forms, both plant and animal, in an ecosystem.

MaryBeth Kelly, Ito Fernando, Margie Hudson, Amy Gosch, Andrea Leonard Drummond, Rachel Mouldey liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: White and black insect in MN
Location: SE Minnesota
October 24, 2014 8:43 am
This insect was seen on October 22, 2014, in southeast Minnesota (Minneapolis). It was about 5/8 to 3/4 of an inch in length. It was on an aluminum storm door’s frame (the green background), at about 5:30 p.m. (less than an hour before sunset). It stayed in the same place (did not climb the door frame, etc.) at least through the time we went in at sunset to fix supper. It was no longer there the next morning (no surprise). Temperatures were probably in upper 50s Fahrenheit. The porch is raised about four feet above ground level. There is a dogwood tree next to it, with branches touching the porch roof and supports. The ground below the dogwood is occupied by hostas. The body texture appeared a bit like moth wings, i.e., as though there were small scales, but in the photo the body looks smoother. The body is more flat than round, in case the photo does not show that sufficiently.
Signature: Curious in MN

Someone else has told me the insect is probably a wingless female linden looper moth, Erannis tiliaria.  Photos of the wingless female linden looper elsewhere (e.g., at the end of the page at and at appear to be the same general size, color, and pattern, and there are indeed linden trees in the boulevard strip about thirty feet from the porch, up and down the street. Not that I’ve seen info yet to say that the linden looper feeds on or uses for egg-laying only linden or basswood trees, despite the “tiliaria” name; it might be tolerant of other species, too, even dogwoods.  Also, the mating season is said to be in the fall, and I probably should not have omitted from my original post that the porch is roofed, with a low-wattage light that attracts moths, including presumably any male Erannis tiliaria in the vicinity.  So you can probably mark this one as closed.

Female LInden Looper Moth

Female LInden Looper Moth

Dear Curious in MN,
While this file is closed for you and may not require any additional information on our part, we are still thrilled that you followed up with the identification of the wingless, female Linden Looper Moth and that you provided so many helpful links so that we can prepare a posting for our readership.  The introduction of invasive, exotic species continues to be a significant threat to agriculture and native species diversity.
  We did locate a related species in our archives, a female Mottled Umber Moth, Erannis defoliaria, which is in the same genus and which is native to Europe.  It is possible that that particular posting from our archives is of the Linden Looper Moth as well.  In doing our research, we discovered your image already posted to BugGuide.

Oops.  I may have jumped too early to a conclusion.  A search for Erannis on your site found a page for a tentative identification of a wingless female of a mottled umber moth on November 29, 2009 in California, that looks very similar, too.  And from the photos of Erannis defoliaria and Erannis tiliaria found elsewhere, I’m not sure I could tell them apart just from a photo of the back. Perhaps you will be sensitive to details in the photographs that might distinguish the two.

We don’t think that we are able to distinguish between the two species, but at least we can be certain that we are dealing with a member of the genus Erannis and that it is an invasive species in North America.  Since you have nearby Linden trees, we would favor your original identification of a Linden Looper Moth.

You’re right, I did ask two places, at your wonderful site and at BugGuide.  I hope that’s not a problem.  If you’re preparing a post, you might be amused to add a link to a picture of E. defoliaria from a British guide (John Curtis’s British Entomology Volume 6, says the Wikipedia attribution of the image) over a hundred years ago:, that includes the wingless female, but not at sufficient detail in the image (I can’t speak to the print original) to be able to say what details are distinguishing for the female E. defoliaria and E. tilaria.  Thank you for operating a wonderfully useful site.

We love BugGuide and we have no problem sharing your image.  Thanks for the compliment and additional link.

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Subject: Bird Dropping Moth?
Location: Coryell County, Texas
October 23, 2014 9:39 pm
Hello, I spotted this moth near the garage when I returned home today. It was clinging to the Malvaviscus arboreus for hours. I haven’t had any luck in finding its genus or species. I’m guessing that it’s a Bird Dropping Moth, for obvious reasons. :-D
Thank you!
Signature: Ellen



Hi Ellen,
Your moth does resemble bird droppings.  There is a moth that is commonly called a Bird Dropping Moth and our readers frequently write in that Wood Nymphs in the genus
Eudryas resemble bird droppings, but neither is your moth which is in the genus Tolype and has no common name.  Seems looking like bird droppings is a good way to protect against getting eaten.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Beautiful bug
Location: north calgary Alberta Canada
October 23, 2014 8:54 pm
i live in calgary Alberta and in July some friends were camping and saw this bug. Any idea what it is?
Signature: jaynerama

Elegant Sheep Moth freshly eclosed

Elegant Sheep Moth freshly eclosed

Dear jaynerama,
This Elegant Sheep Moth,
Hemileuca eglanterina, has just emerged from an underground pupal state.  Here is a matching image from BugGuide.  The Elegant Sheep Moth is even more beautiful after its wings fully expand, enabling it to fly.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: I can’t identify this bug.
Location: Palm Bay, Florida. (Central Florida)
October 22, 2014 10:14 am
Alright so I came home and outside on the wall of my house was this bug which at first I thought was a beetle, but now I’m not sure. The colors are more vibrant than shown in the picture. It has a red dot on its head and wings with black lines running down them.
Hopefully you can identify it. Its driving me crazy.
Thanks for the help.
Signature: Not sure I understand this question. Whatever way is best for you.

Hieroglyphic Moth

Hieroglyphic Moth

This distinctive moth is aptly named a Hieroglyphic Moth, Diphthera festiva, and you can verifiy our identification on BugGuide.

Andrea Leonard Drummond, MaryBeth Kelly, Jen Smith, Julieta Stangaferro, Kristi E. Lambert, Celia Gallentine, Jacob Helton liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Indian Meal Moth

Indian Meal Moth

Subject: What kind of moths are these?
Location: Queens, NY
October 20, 2014 12:02 pm
My girlfriend has been finding a bunch of these (what I believe to be) moths in her bedroom; one night, she encountered 10. To me, they resemble Indian Meal Moths. We typically find these at night, but that might just be a coincidence as we’re at work during the day.
We’ve never seen them flying around; whenever we turn on the lights, they just don’t move.
The door to the bedroom is right next to the entrance to the kitchen, which led me to believe that they were Indian Meal Moths, but there are no moths in the kitchen.
Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to your response.
Signature: AG

Dear AG,
Clean out the pantry, paying especial attention to grain products and nuts.  You have Indian Meal Moths and the Caterpillars are eating your stored dry goods.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination