Currently viewing the category: "Noctuoids"
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Subject: Black Witch
Location: Cheyenne, Wyoming
August 31, 2015 1:43 pm
6:45 am, Cheyenne,Wyoming. Approximate size inches.
Signature: Wayne Barton

Black Witch

Black Witch

Dear Wayne,
Congratulations on this extreme northern sighting of a male Black Witch, a neotropical species found in Central and South America.  As far back as the late Nineteenth Century, sightings of Black Witch Moths as far north as Canada have been reported.  According to BugGuide:  “The northward June migration out of Mexico coincides with Mexico’s rainy season which typically starts in early June and lasts through October” and “Often flies great distances in only a few nights, hiding by day wherever it can find dense shade – frequently under the eves of houses.”   While sightings in border states including California and Texas, and southern states like Florida are not rare, northern sightings are not as common.  Black Witch Moths are now thought to be breeding in some border states, but harsh winters in the north will most likely prevent naturalization.  We followed a link from BugGuide to the Texas Entomology site where Mike Quinn is keeping records of state, and though there were three Black Witch sightings in 2004, there is nothing recent.  We would suggest that you contact Mike at entomike@gmail.com to report your sighting, though we are going to pass on the information, but should he require additional information, we would not be able to provide anything.  We can’t help but to wonder why Black Witches continue to migrate north though they would not stand much of a chance of passing on genetic material, because even if they were lucky enough to find a mate in Colorado or Canada, the harsh conditions would not favor the survival of the progeny. 

Laura Maura, William Boyd, Juliett Moth liked this post
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Subject: Brown Moth
Location: Walkerton, Indiana
August 28, 2015 3:53 pm
I was out cleaning up brush around the house and I saw this moth sitting on my porch steps. Not sure what kind it is, but it is a nice looking one.
Signature: Edward

Underwing Moth

Underwing Moth

Dear Edward,
This Underwing Moth in the genus
Catocala is a masterful example of camouflage.  The underwings are often brightly colored red, pink or orange with black stripes, but they are hidden when the moth rests, often on a tree trunk where it blends in perfectly with the bark.

Andrea Leonard Drummond liked this post
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Subject: Great Tiger Moth
Location: Granby, Colorado
August 17, 2015 8:03 pm
This moth was on the side of our cabin at the C Lazy U guest ranch near Granby Colorado.
Beautiful, vibrant colors – it hung out all afternoon prior to a rain storm.
Very photogenic!
Signature: LGS

Great Tiger Moth

Great Tiger Moth

Dear LGS,
The Great Tiger Moth or Garden Tiger Moth,
Arctia caja, is a holarctic species, meaning it is found in Eurasia as well as North America.  According to BugGuide:  “This species, formerly common throughout the UK, has steadily declined over the past 20 years, with numbers falling by around 30%. There has been a general movement away from the south and toward the north, with climate change believed to be a contributing factor. Warm, wet winters and warm springs are followed by a decrease in the number of tiger moths the following summer (Conrad et al, 2002).”

Norman Gems, Marieke Bruss, Kissiah Aiken, Heather Duggan-Christensen, Ann Levitsky, Jessica M. Schemm liked this post
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Subject: help identifying moth
Location: Trinidad and Tobago (Caribbean)
August 16, 2015 12:55 pm
Hi bug man, I’d like some help identifying a moth that i’ve never seen before. I took this photo lastnight in Trinidad and tobago.
Signature: Prince Siu

Possibly Geometer Moth

Possibly Geometer Moth

Dear Prince Siu,
At first we thought this was a Geometer Moth in the family Geometridae, but the more we looked at it, the more we thought it might be in the family Erebidae because of its resemblance to a White Witch, the largest South American moth.  We are still leaning towards a Geometer Moth, but we have not been able to locate any matching images online.  We will continue to research this and we will also enlist the assistance of our readership.

Update:  August 17, 2015
Thanks to a comment from Cesar Crash indicating this looks like a member of the genus
Letis, we searched and found a similar looking moth from Ecuador on FlickR, which is good enough for us to eliminate the family Geometridae.

Ann Levitsky, Sue Dougherty, Prince Siu, Megan Zuelsdorff, Heather Duggan-Christensen, Jacob Helton liked this post
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Subject: local name and scientific name
Location: Modasa,Gujarat,India
August 7, 2015 4:58 am
Respected Sir,
I have taken this pic at my home but i didn’t recognize this moth so pls help me
Signature: manthan mehta

Sandalwood Defoliator

Sandalwood Defoliator

Dear Manthan,
This is a diurnal Tiger Moth in the subfamily Arctiinae, a group that has undergone considerable reclassification in recent years.  We found a matching image posted to India Nature Watch that is identified as
Amata passalis, the Sandal Defoliator.  India Biodiversity calls the species a Wasp Moth, which is a more general name for a group that is similarly classified.  iNaturalist classifies the species in the tribe Syntomini, a group collectively called the Wasp Moths or Handmaiden Moths.  ResearchGate has a technical paper where the species is called the Sandalwood Defoliator.  So the scientific name is Amata passalis, and potential common names in order of increasing specificity are Tiger Moth, Wasp Moth or Handmaiden Moth, and the common species name is the Sandalwood Defoliator.  There may be a more local name in your area.

Sue Dougherty, Norman Gems, Una O'Connor, Jessica M. Schemm, Melanie Conover, Melissa Covey, Holly Roth, Hannah Headrick, Kristine Lachapelle, Tynisha Koenigsaecker, Mary Lemmink Lawrence, Ann Levitsky liked this post
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Subject: Moth claims strawberry for dinner
Location: Mankato, Minnesota
August 4, 2015 3:47 pm
Dear Bugman,
I captured this moth for identification. He was quite adamant about not wanting to share my strawberry. I thought it resembled a trumpet vine moth. Could you please confirm if I identified it properly?
Signature: Tera Sandon

The Herald

The Herald

Dear Tera,
We disagree with your belief that this is a Trumpet Vine Moth,
Clydonopteron sacculana, a species pictured on BugGuide.  Rather, we believe it is The Herald, Scoliopteryx libatrix, a species also pictured on BugGuide where it is described as:  “Distinctive. Scalloped outer margins of forewing and hindwing. Forewing is gray with wavy lines, has central bright orange patches with metallic flecks.”

Thank you for the prompt reply.  I too believe you are right about the identification. The place that I found it was in the strawberries under the white birch.  I have two old Poplar trees in the yard and can safely assume that it may have grown up and developed on one of them. I’ll be sad to see those trees taken down next week.    How very fascinating to be able to host such beautiful creatures in my yard and gardens.  The plethora of insects that visit my yard are too many to count. It’s a site to behold and the only ones that irritate me are the mosquitos.  Thanks again for your help in identification.

Hi again Tera,
After creating a new posting for you, we realized we had a UK posting of The Herald as well, and we learned on UK Moths:  “Quite a spectacular species, this colourful moth overwinters as an adult, and as a result, can be one of the last species to be seen in one year, and one of the first in the next. It is also sometimes found hibernating inside barns and outbuildings.  The adults are attracted to both light and sugar” which probably means that was a very sweet strawberry.  They are members of the family Erebidae which includes The Black Witch, Underwing Moths and Fruit Piercing Moths, all long lived representatives of the family.

Sue Dougherty liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination