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Costa Rican Moth
January 27, 2010
Hello!
We here at the Monteverde Butterfly Gardens in Costa Rica are big fans of yours, and we have found a moth that we cannot identify. The photo should be pretty descriptive, but basically it is wearing some stylish headgear that resembles a broken twig. Your help is much appreciated!
Thanks
MBG Staff
Monteverde Butterfly Gardens Staff
Monteverde, Costa Rica

Owlet Moth

Dear MBG Staff,
This is an Owlet Moth in the family Noctuidae, a very large family.  There are several North American genera in the tribe Plusiini pictured on BugGuide that have a similar profile.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to be more specific in terms of a species or genus identification.

Karl does some research
Hi Daniel and MBG Staff:
This is indeed an Owlet Moth in the family Noctuidae, and I believe the subfamily is Euteliinae (sometimes included in Plusiinae or Nolinae). In the Euteliinae, the beautiful ‘broken-twig’ mimicry is achieved with cryptic coloration, a squat posture and a dramatically upturned abdomen. As far as I can tell there are fewer than 20 species in 3 genera found in Costa Rica, but they are all similar and highly variable. I suspect the genus is either Paectes or Eutelia. The closest match I was able to find on the Area de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG) site was Paectes obrotunda, but this is really just a guess. MBG Staff, if you contacted Dan Janzen at ACG he could probably give you a precise identification. Regards.
Hey Guys!
Thanks so much for your timely reply and insight!  I have seen Noctuids before with upturned abdomens, but never one this drastic or with this degree of mimicry.  I was actually convinced that it wasn`t his abdomen at all, but some weird ornamentation on top of the body, though when you look at it with this new perspective it makes sense.  Thanks again, I will keep you updated if I find out anything more.
Keep up the awesome work!
Kyle and MBG staff. Karl

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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