Currently viewing the category: "Geometrid Moths"
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Subject: What type of moth is this?
Location: Campbell, CA
May 15, 2015 9:28 am
This moth is on my kitchen door. White for camouflage I’m assuming. It’s about 1 -1/2 inches from wing tip to wing tip. Soft fur on head. It looks like a stealth bomber. Very beautiful. May have black legs, small horizontal antennae.
Signature: Trish

Geometrid Moth

Geometrid Moth

Dear Trish,
Your moth is is the family Geometridae, but we are uncertain of the species.
  It may be an Omnivorous Looper, , which is pictured on the Moths of Orange County site.

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Subject: Confused in Alaska!
Location: Fairbanks, AK
April 27, 2015 7:18 pm
Hello! Hope your spring has brought all sorts of buggy critters your way. My son found the strangest bug crawling across the leaf mould beneath some willows. My first thought was, could this be a half-pupated butterfly? She had a body like a short fat fuzzy grub (I could see pale green flesh in between the abdomen ridges when she flexed), butterfly-looking legs that pranced, and what appeared to be little fuzzy wing nubs. She had a very tiny head with no proboscis or discernible features, only spindly antennae.
What is she?
Thanks for your help!
Signature: Rebecca Frenzl

Flightless Female Moth

Flightless Female Moth

Dear Rebecca,
What we know for certain is that this is a flightless female moth, and we have done considerable research, and though we do not have a definitive response, we believe we are close.  The Moth PHotographers Group has a page devoted to flightless female moths.  Our first research took us to the possibility that this might be one of the females in the genus
Orgyia, the Vapourers or Tussock Moths, and the Douglas Fir Tussock Moth, Orgyia pseudotsugata, is found in Western Canada, so we thought that might be a good candidate, but based on the images posted to BugGuide, the legs and antennae are much shorter than your individual.  Though images of flightless female moths can be difficult to find online, a look at the mounted pair of Douglas Fir Tussock Moths on Forestry Images confirmed our belief that it was not your species or genus.  We next turned our attention to the genus Lycia in the Spanworm family Geometridae, and the Stout Spanworm seemed like a good candidate as it is found in Western Canada, according to BugGuide, but alas, BugGuide only has images of males with wings pictured.  The Belted Beauty, Lycia zonaria, which is pictured on the Highland Butterflies UK site looks like a good match physically, but it is an old world species and the markings are different.  Except for the markings which are different, the Belted Beauty pictured on UK Moths also looks quite similar to your individual.  We are concluding that since the genus Lycia is represented in Canada by two species according to BugGuide, and both the Stout Spanworm and the Twilight Moth, Lycia rachelae, are reported from western Canada, that one of those species is most likely your flightless female moth, but alas, we had no luck finding any online images of females to compare.  Perhaps one of our readers will have more luck than we have had.

Flightless Female Moth

Flightless Female Moth

Flightless Female Moth

Flightless Female Moth

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Subject: green moth
Location: Babati, Tanzania
April 10, 2015 10:14 am
Dear Bugman –
I would love help in identifying this green moth from Tanzania.
Perusing pictures, the closest thing I would find was the Large Emerald and other geometers.
Signature: Robert Siegel

Geometer Moth

Geometer Moth

Dear Robert,
We agree that this looks like an Emerald in the family Geometridae, and we attempted a more specific identification, but alas, the best we could do was this image on iSpot that is only identified to the family level Geometridae.

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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 http://www.wci.colostate.edu/shtml/LindenLooper.shtml and at http://www.invasive.org/browse/TaxThumb.cfm?fam=210&genus=Erannis) 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: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/19/Britishentomologyvolume6Plate703.jpg, 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: moth ct
Location: connecticut
September 1, 2014 6:45 pm
just wondering what this is
Signature: diane

Geometrid Moth

Geometrid Moth

Hi Diane,
This pretty moth is in the family Geometridae and the larvae are known as Inchworms or Spanworms.  We wish the image was higher resolution.  We might not have the time to pursue a species identification at this time.

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Subject: Moth
Location: Reelfoot lake Samburg, TN
July 16, 2014 7:00 pm
Photographed this moth at Reelfoot Lake in the northwest corner of TN. What is it?
Thanks
Signature: Bugman

Geometrid Moth

Geometrid Moth

This is a Moth in the family Geometridae, possibly a diurnal species, and at first we thought it might be a Chickweed Geometrid which is pictured on BugGuide, but closer inspection reveals it to be a distinct species.  We will attempt a more thorough identification in the future.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination