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

Moth ID
June 5, 2010
I would greatly appreciate an ID on these moths. The one looked like a cecropia, but I wasn’t sure. I know that patterns can vary considerably depending on location. Thank you!
St. Peters PA

Female Promethea Moth

Hi Andrea,
Of the three species of moths in the genus Callosamia, we believe your specimen is a female Promethea Moth, Callosamia promethea, also called a Spicebush Silkmoth.  We are basing this on a photo posted to BugGuide. Our second choice would be a female Tulip Tree Silkmoth, Callosamia angulifera, also posted to BugGuide.  We will tackle your second moth separately.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I’ve never seen a moth like this
May 30, 2010
I found it this morning hanging out on our front porch light in Memphis, TN. It was very small – less than an inch. Ever seen one like this?
Memphis, TN

Boxwood Leaftier Moth

Hi Tim,
This sure is a crazy looking moth, and we do not know what it is.  Microlepidoptera always give us a hard time.  We will post this as a mystery announcement and hopefully we will get some assistance.

Boxwood Leaftier Moth

Thanks.  Someone on BugGuide just identified it as Galasa nigrinodis – Boxwood Leaftier Moth.

Update:  Moth Identified
May 31, 2010
Bugophile sent us a comment yesterday identifying this creature as a Boxwood Leaftier Moth, Galasa nigrinodis, and we found matching images on BugGuide “Larvae “tie together and eat dead leaves of boxwood.” (1) Boxwood is Buxus, apparently not native to North America. B. sempervirens is called “American Boxwood”, likely due to its longstanding popularity in cultivation. The moth appears to be native to North America–it is unclear what the native hostplants might be, perhaps other genera in the family Buxaceae. Allegheny Spurge, Pachysandra procumbens is one such native plant, but no information can be found on its possible hostplant status.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Polyphemus Moth ?
May 28, 2010
Many, many thanks for the prompt reply and posting of my “Beautiful Green Bug” (Slant-winged Katydid). Your website is fantastic and your love of all our “critters” is evident. It is refreshing to have the privilege of communicating with individuals, such as yourselves. I’m going to send a donation for your site, next week, when my retirement check comes in. I’m sending you two more pictures of a moth. Pictures were taken on my shed door the end of April 2010, during the evening. This guy was beautiful but did not move much. He was quite hign on the door which necessitated me to use the zoom on my camera. One picture is with flash and one without — take your pick. After the pictures, I left him alone and later on in the evening he departe d. I believe him to be a Polyphemus silk moth of the Saturniidae family — please correct me if I’m wrong. Again, I’m thrilled to have found your site and humbled by your obvious love of nature and efforts to preserve “Her.” Many, many thanks.
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Black Witch

Hi Again Curt,
Thanks so much for your kind words, and you are under no obligation to contribute a donation, especially if you are on a fixed income.  Donations are no guarantee that we will respond to questions.  Mostly it is a matter of luck which letters we answer and post, but we do try to find unusual creatures, wonderful photos, or interesting letters in an effort to keep What’s That Bug? vital.  This is a Black Witch, Ascalapha odorata, a tropical and subtropical species that is common in Mexico.  The Black Witch is a very powerful flier, and there are documentations going back 100 years of sightings as far north as Canada.  In recent years, perhaps due to global warming, or perhaps due to the cultivation of its food plant the acacia, the Black Witch has begun to breed in southern states.  Your specimen is a female because of the presence of the pale wing bands.  Your sighting came at an unusual time.  According to BugGuide:  “The northward migration out of Mexico is triggered by Mexico’s rainy season which typically starts in early June and lasts through October. Most US records are from June-August, with a considerable number of records from September-Novermber. Very few US records from December-May.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What To Do With Rosy Maple Eggs?
May 30, 2010
My 4 1/2 year old daughter and I visit your website regulary to identify new moths and bugs we find each morning around our house!
One of our favorites is the pink/yellow Rosy Maple Moth.
We found a rather large one yesterday and withing a few minutes of putting her into one of our bug houses, she began to lay eggs! Now 24 hours later she’s still working and is up to about 30 tiny yellow eggs on the walls of the habitat.
So our question is about what to do witht the eggs? Should we release Rosy after she’s done laying all of them?
If we leave the eggs alone in the bug house, will they hatch?
I’m assuming it might be too much to try and feed the larvae/catpillars for so long, so what kind of tree should we release them on after they hatch (if we’re so lucky)?
Thanks fo your help!
Mo & Skyler
Albany, New York (mid-state)

Rosy Maple Moth lays eggs

Dear Mo & Slyler,
Your letter contains so many wonderful questions.  You should not try to move the eggs because you may damage them.  Releasing the female moth after laying eggs will probably not matter since she will soon die.  Rosy Maple Moths, Dryocamps rubicunda, are members of the family Saturniidae, the Giant Silkmoths and Royal Moths, and they do not feed as adults since they have atrophied mouth parts.  Releasing her soon will allow her to continue to lay eggs near a proper food source for the caterpillars.  The eggs should hatch, provided the female mated.  If she was captured before mating, the eggs will not be viable.  The caterpillars should grow quickly.  To provide a learning experience, you can release most of the caterpillars, and try raising just a few.  The caterpillars will feed on the leaves of maple and oak trees.  If the name of a plant is incorporated into the common or scientific name for an insect, it is inevitable that the plant is part of the insect’s diet.

Hi Daniel:
Thanks for such a quick response!  I figured maple leaves might be as obvious as it is, but I wanted to be sure.   We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed the eggs are fertilized!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

White, black & Orange moth
May 29, 2010
We found the attached moth in Austin Texas. It has white wings marked with black markings. Body and underside of wings predominantly burnt orange
Glen & daughter Kennedy
Pflugerville, Texas

Salt Marsh Moth

Dear Glen and Kennedy,
This lovely Tiger Moth is known as the Salt Marsh Moth, Estigmene acrea.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on a wide variety of mainly weedy plants including pigweed (Amaranthus spp.), anglepod (Gonolobus spp.), Sicklepod (Cassia tora), Dog Fennel (Eupatorium capillifolium), ground cherry (Physalis spp.), and mallow (Anoda spp.), plus crops such as alfalfa, asparagus, bean, beet, cabbage, carrot, celery, clover, corn, cotton, lettuce, onion, pea, potato, soybean, sugarbeet, tobacco, tomato, and turnip. On rare occasions, they also feed on leaves of deciduous trees and shrubs: alder, apple, cherry, elderberry, pear, poplar, and serviceberry, according to Handfield.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What’s this moth?
May 27, 2010
This handsome creature was hanging around our grapevines the other day (May 24, to be exact). It was maybe an inch nose to wingtip, not counting the antennae. Can you tell me what it is? Thanks.
Linda C
Accomack County, VA

Eight Spotted Forrester

Dear Linda,
Your Eight Spotted Forrester really is a beautiful moth. The caterpillars feed on the leaves of a few different vines, including grape.  You can read more about this diurnal Owlet Moth on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination