Location: California–Round Top Peak near Markleeville, CA (Alpine county)
August 10, 2010 12:54 am
I found what I think is a moth (perhaps a tiger moth?) while hiking up to Round Top peak at the beginning of August, at an elevation of around 10,000 ft. I am very curious about what kind of moth it is, and could not seem to match it to any other pictures I have seen. I would appreciate your help!
Your moth is not a Tiger Moth. The Elegant Sheep Moth, Hemileuca eglanterina, is a Buck Moth and it is closely related to the Giant Silkmoths. We once read that Buck Moths get their common name because they are often sighted in the autumn during buck hunting season. The Elegant Sheep Moth gets its common name because it is found in high elevations where sheep are put to pasture. The Elegant Sheep Moth is a highly variable species. According to BugGuide: “Forewing usually rose-pink and orange, usually with black bands, though sometimes absent. Hindwing is orange with a similar pattern, though variable: sometimes absent, sometimes covering most of hindwing. (2) Day-flying, reputed to fly fast and close to the ground.” The most recent previous submission of an Elegant Sheep Moth we received in June 2009 was of the unmarked variation.