Currently viewing the category: "Noctuoids"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Confused About This Moth
Location: Northeast Ohio
August 15, 2016 3:56 pm
Hi! My son found this large moth in our yard, and all of our research indicates that it is Orange Underwing Moth, but that same research places this species in the UK, and we’re in Northeast, Ohio.
Can you help us ID it? Thank you!
Signature: Colleen

Underwing

Underwing

Hi Colleen,
Your Underwing is in the genus
Catocala, a large genus with many similar looking species.  We believe it might be a Sweetheart Underwing, Catocala amatrix, based on this BugGuide image.  According to BugGuide:  “larvae feed on leaves of several species of poplar (Populus spp.) and Black Willow (Salix nigra).”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Large Moth
Location: Worland, WY
August 13, 2016 2:57 pm
Hello, I saw this on the wall of my house today. I live in northern WY. Any idea what it is? It appeared to be 4-5 inches across.
Signature: needarealname

Male Black Witch

Male Black Witch

Dear needarealname,
This is a male Black Witch,
Ascalapha odorata, and according to the Texas Entomology site, it is:  “is the largest moth, if not the largest insect, north of Mexico. ”  Though it has that distinction, it is a migrant species, though perhaps with global warming, it may have naturalized in areas close to the Mexican border.  The Black Witch is a neotropical species, but it has been documented as far north as Canada since as far back as the nineteenth century, though no one really knows exactly what causes this southern species to fly north each year.  Your individual looks quite tattered, which is to be expected after making a 1000 plus mile flight.  Each year in Mexico, at the start of monsoon season, Black Witch moths head north.  Interestingly, we received a report last year of a Cheyenne, Wyoming sighting of a Black Witch.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Some kind of catocala moth?
Location: Troy, VA
August 3, 2016 9:11 am
After doing a search, I’m pretty sure this is a catocala moth, what kind eludes me. It’s lovely, whatever it is, and it was quite obliging by showing its underwings.
Signature: Grace Pedalino

Large Yellow Underwing

False Underwing

Dear Grace,
Though the common name Underwing is shared by your moth as well as the Underwings in the genus
Catocala, your individual is actually a False Underwing, Allotria elonympha, which we identified on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on a variety of deciduous trees, such as Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica), hickories, walnuts.”  Black Gum is also the only host listed for The Hebrew you just submitted, so we are speculating there is at least one growing nearby.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: The Hebrew
Location: Troy, VA
August 3, 2016 9:19 am
I thought you might like this picture of what I believe to be a Hebrew moth. It’s not quite as sharp an image as I would like, but you can still see the lovely markings quite clearly. I only got one photo before she flew off.
Signature: Grace Pedalino

The Hebrew

The Hebrew

Dear Grace,
Your image of The Hebrew moth,
Polygrammate hebraeicum, is a marvelous addition to our archive as we only have one rather blurry image of The Hebrew in our archives that was submitted in 2005.  According to BugGuide:  “Both common name ‘The Hebrew’ and specific epithet hebraeicum likely refer to resemblance of the pattern to Hebrew characters”  According to the Butterflies and Moths of North America:  “Caterpillar Hosts: Black gum trees.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Black Witch Moth
Location: Carlsbad, NM
July 30, 2016 9:36 pm
This evening, around twilight, I was backing out of my garage when I saw what I thought was a bat flitting around inside the garage. I stopped the car and went to safely shoo it out. It had landed upside down on the raised garage door. I was very surprised to find no bat but a huge brown moth. It was easily 6 inches from wing tip to wing tip. I took a few photos, and then gently moved it out. It landed on the wood frame of the garage door, where I took some better photos using the car headlights for illumination. I love the little commas on the shoulders.
I don’t recall ever seeing this type of moth before. I looked on your site under “large brown moth”, and I think I’ve matched it to Black Witch Moth, male. According to what I read, they are usually tropical but can be found in the U.S. occasionally. We’ve had a very hot summer with 20+ days over 100 degrees. I don’t know if that’s what brought this guy north. Looking at your site, I found several Black Witch Moth submissions, but I didn’t find one from 2016, so I thought I’d send these in.
I love your site and use it all the time.
Signature: Curious

Male Black Witch

Male Black Witch

Dear Curious,
You are correct that this is a male Black Witch and you are also correct that this is our first 2016 report, and we are thrilled that there is such a wonderful, high quality image to accompany the posting.  Northern migrations of Black Witch Moths from Mexico have been documented for over 100 years, and the start of the migration seems to be linked to the monsoon season in Mexico, but no one is certain why the migration includes reports from as far north as Alaska.  The Black Witch is a huge moth that is capable of flying great distances, which may lead to range expansions, but potential larval food plants tend to be confined to warmer climates as the trees upon which the caterpillars feed cannot survive colder winters.  Texas Entomology has information on Black Witch migrations.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Walnut Underwing flashes its colors in Mount Washington
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
July 10, 2016 10:30 PM
Though we have managed to get images of Walnut Underwings several times each year, getting a good glimpse at the gorgeously marked underwings responsible for the common name is not that easy.  This beauty was quite cooperative tonight.  After startling it when we walked out onto the porch to dump a pot full of water into the garden, it remained “posing” on the ground until we had time to run for the camera and we got a few images using the on-camera flash.

Walnut Underwing

Walnut Underwing

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination