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

Subject: The weirdest ”bee” I’ve ever seen!
Location: Denver Colorado USA
September 16, 2012 12:09 am
Just moved to CO a few months ago, and saw this interesting insect buzzing around in my backyard.
Heard about your site from some friends and hoping you can tell me what it is!
Signature: Nas

Nessus Sphinx

Dear Nas,
What you have mistaken for a bee is actually a moth, a Sphinx Moth more specifically.  Many Sphinx Moths are diurnal and they are confused with bees or hummingbirds when they visit flowers.  Your moth is a Nessus Sphinx,
Amphion floridensis, and you may read more about it on the Sphingidae of the Americas website.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bug in a hut and some sort of sphinx moth
Location: Nkhotakota, Malawi, Africa
September 14, 2012 10:34 pm
Well, since you folks were so great about getting that sun spider identified, I have two more mystery insects for you, from my sister in the Peace Corps in Malawi.
The first one we assume is some sort of (gorgeous) sphinx moth.
The second one she says she sees everywhere, and can never seem to get to hatch out to its final stage, whatever that may be. 500 kwacha have been offered to whoever can identify it.
Signature: Catherine

Insect Accessory: Gonimbrasia dione

Dear Catherine,
Several months ago, more to amuse our editorial staff than for any other reason, we ran a contest to find the loveliest insect accessory photo, and though this photo of a Giant Silk Moth (not a Sphinx Moth) has arrived considerably later, it is by far the comeliest insect accessory photo we have ever received.  We searched through species on the World’s Largest Saturniidae website and we have identified this moth as a member of the genus
Gonimbrasia, probably Gonimbrasia dione.  The photos on Encyclopedia of Life tend to support that identification, but we will copy Bill Oehlke on our response to see if he is able to verify that identification.  The other insect is a Bagworm, and we have no idea what 500 kwacha might be, but we are thrilled to claim the prize.  Bagworms are caterpillars in the family Psychidae that create a protective habitat from the plants upon which they feed.  Bagworms spend their entire caterpillar period within the bag which they enlarge over time to accommodate their growth, and they eventually pupate within the bag.

Catherine replies
Congratulations, you won $1.50! Thanks, folks, I love this website.

Bagworm identification worth 500 kwacha!!!

Correction courtesy of Bill Oehlke:
Hi Daniel,
The very clear basal area of forewing is more suggestive, to me, of Gonimbrasia rectilinea
Large hindwing ocellus is also more typical of rectilinear
Hi Catherine,
See note above to Daniel. Nice photo. Is it possible to send me a larger version of image for my Saturniidae data base?

Thanks Bill.
We always appreciate your assistance.

Hi Catherine,
We are so excited about our prize.  We would greatly appreciate if you are able to send the photo to Bill Oehlke who runs a wonderful website that we use for reference all the time.  Many species of Giant Silk Moths are only represented online by mounted specimens, so individuals photographed in the wild are always appreciated.

Update:  We got 500 Kwacha!!!!!
October 26, 2012
We were surprised to find an hand addressed envelope from Colorado in our mailbox amidst the political propaganda, and upon opening it, we found a lovely thank you note with our 500 Kwacha.  What a wonderful way to end a long and difficult day.

500 Kwacha


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Giant Wood Moth
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
September 14, 2012 7:26 am
I swear this is not unnecessary carnage. I was filming an orb spider one night when this thing tried to kill me! I kung foo dodged it and it K.O.’d itself on the balcony. Initially I thought it was a mouse that had evolved wings but on further inspection realised it was a moth. This picture shows it unconscious but still alive. I now know from research this is a Giant Wood Moth. I think they spend years underground as pupae only to emerge and try to destroy any humans they encounter. I gather they have a short life span and it started shooting out hundreds of eggs on the money. Lesson: money is dirty and you don’t know where it’s been. In the end I flicked the moth and eggs by the base of a large gum tree, they were probably the next days ant food. It looked in a bad way as it crawled off into the darkness and would have been food for my bearded dragon if I didn’t think there was the posibility of a choking hazard. As a reference, the Austra lian currency shown is about 12cm in length.
Signature: CReadius

Wood Moth lays eggs on currency

Dear CReadius,
We were highly entertained by your encounter with this fecund Wood Moth which is also commonly called a Ghost Moth.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Rare, Pink Spotted Flower Moth, (Erythroecia Suavis) 9-12-12
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
September 12, 2012 2:07 pm
Hello! Today is my 18th birthday, & I came across a strikingly beautiful moth, with the colors of pink & yellow. I came to call it my birthday moth, cause of its unique color. I took many photos of this moth, & searched the internet for quite some time, until I finally came across a picture, which lead me to this site. I then heard they are usually never found alive, so I managed to take a video. The most odd thing is I hear they live in North-Dakota. I live in Albuquerque, NM. I will put a link to the video below. Thank you for your time.
Signature: Shaynen Brewster

Pink Spotted Flower Moth

Happy Birthday Shaynen,
Since our 2008 posting of the Pink Spotted Flower Moth, there have been changes and additions on the internet.  BugGuide now has several photos posted and the scientific name has been changed from
Erythroecia suavis to Psectrotarsia suavis.  There is also a map on the Moth Photographers Group website that places your New Mexico sighting well within the range that is reported for the Pink Spotted Flower Moth.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Pregnant Red Moth, Need Help to Identify
Location: Sanford, Florida
September 8, 2012 8:55 pm
This moth attached itself to my car at the gas station in Sanford, Florida today. It rode home with us and my daughter thought it was pretty so we decided to put it in a jar with some air holes in the top. We added some water in a bottle cap and some sections of a clementine broken apart. The moth flapped around for a few and then stopped up against the side of the jar and started laying eggs. Now we are trying to figure out how long before the eggs hatch and how we can best take care of the mother moth to keep her alive. My daughter wants to take her to school for show and tell on Monday, but if the larvae will crawl out of the airholes and into our home, we will probably just let the moth go. Please help so we can make sure to take the best care of mama moth.
Signature: -Chris Pollice

Pink Striped Oakworm Moth

Hi Chris,
This is either a Pink Striped Oakworm Moth,
Anisota virginiensis, or another member of the same genus.  The female will die shortly after laying her eggs.  She does not feed as an adult as she has no functioning mouthparts.  The caterpillars may hatch as soon as a week and they can be fed the leaves of oaks.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: weird moth
Location: central Kentucky
September 3, 2012 12:34 pm
Not sure what this is. Has weird wings and praying mantis type hands.
Signature: Jason

Unknown Moth

Hi Jason,
We agree that this is a moth, but it is not something we recognize, nor do we ever recall seeing a similar looking moth.  We are going to post your letter immediately in the hopes that one of our readers can steer us in the right direction, and we are also going to contact Eric Eaton for assistance.

Eric Eaton Responds
I recognize it, but I can’t find another example, either 🙁

Ed. Note:  We also requested assistance from Julian Donahue.

Hi James,
The webmaster for What’s That Bug? sent me this noctuid photo, but I don’t have access to the collection (nor my brain cells). It’s familiar, but I hesitate to guess it’s identity; don’t even know if it’s considered a noctuid or erebid these days?
Thanks for your help,
Julian (you can reply directly to Daniel Marlos, and he’ll post your ID and comments on the website)

James Adams provides an identification
Hey guys,
This is almost undoubtedly Palthis asopialis, though the low lighting and low resolution make it difficult to be sure.  The only other possibility would be Palthis angulalis.
HOpe this helps.
James K. Adams
Professor of Biology, Dalton State College

Dear James and Julian,
Wow, we actually considered the Litter Moths, but the front legs on the individuals on BugGuide did not look as long as the legs on the individual in the photograph submitted to What’s That Bug?  Thanks for the identification James.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination