Subject: South Western PA moths
Location: Pittsburgh PA
June 4, 2012 1:19 pm
Hi Bugman. I always enjoy your postings on Facebook and trying to identify the various bugs I see around my home. I have a selection of moths that have been hanging out around my porch light that I have not been able to name.
If you are interested in learning more about your local moths, you might want to consider checking our some National Moth Week events in your area. We believe the black and white Tiger Moth is a Harnessed Tiger Moth, Apantesis phalerata, which we located on BugGuide, however the site notes: “There are no 100% consistent diagnostic characteristics in wing maculation or spots/no spots on the patagia (the “collar”), to reliably distinguish nais/carlotta/phalerata/vittata. The only full-proof method is dissection and examination of genitalia (the exception is in male phalerata, in which the valve is easily distinguished by its longer, up-curved apex. So one could brush the scales away from the last sternite and see it without dissection. The nais/carlotta/vittata group have rather blunt and rounded apices of the valve.) However, within this group, using the sum of typical (although not necessarily diagnostic) characteristics, can allow for a reasonably probable species ID. — J.D. Roberts” Your photo does look very much like this unidentified member of the genus pictured on BugGuide. We would also note that Tiger Moths in the genus Apantesis are frequently confused with the similar genus Grammia, also pictured on BugGuide. Your Sphinx Moth is a Small Eyed Sphinx, Paonias myops, and you can read more about it on the Sphingidae of the Americas website. Your third moth appears to be a member of the family Geometridae.