Subject: What’s this bug?
Location: Huckleberry Nature Preserve, Oakland, CA
May 11, 2013 4:00 pm
And why the long antennas? The plant is a cow parsnip, if that helps.
What an exciting photo submission. This is a Fairy Moth in the family Adelidae, a very underrepresented group on our site. We believe we have correctly identified your moth as Adela septentrionella based on photos posted to Bugguide, which states: “Adult – forewing purplish-black with two incomplete thin white bands about one-third and two-thirds distance from base; may also have white spots at apex; head black with bushy tuft of erect hairs; antennae of male at least twice as long as wing hindwing uniformly dark with wide fringe. Per comment here ‘The Moths of Western North America by Powell and Opler, p 40, states that the orange scales on the head indicate a female in this species.’” No reason is given for the extreme length of the antennae. Antennae are sensory organs in insects and males often have more developed antennae to help them “scent out” the pheromones of the females.