Subject: Mysterious moth that molted and got smaller?
June 19, 2014 5:06 pm
Yesterday when I got to my office, there was a 1.5″ wide brown moth attached to the screen door. It was pretty cool looking, so I took a picture. It stayed there all day as people came and went, without so much as a flutter. The next day when I got to work and looked at the door, I saw the smaller yellow/orange moth attached in the exact same spot. It hung around for a bit, and then was gone; I’m guessing that it got bored and flew off. I’m wondering if they are the same bug that molted or somehow changed from the large brown into the smaller yellow? Or is it just a pure coincidence that they were both at the exact same spot? It’s got me pretty intrigued, and I keep looking around the internet and can’t seem to find any information. Thanks!
Signature: Jeremy S.
What an interesting question you have posed. You are under a misconception that moths (and possibly butterflies) will molt. Molting is a process undergone by the immature caterpillars, and the final molt occurs when the adult moth emerges or ecloses from the pupa. The large moth you saw originally is a Spotted Apatelodes. We are not certain of the identity of the smaller orange moth, but it may be in the family Geometridae.
Correction: June 28, 2014
Thanks to a comment from Ben, we now believe this is an Inverted Y Slug Moth, Apoda y-inversum, based on images posted to BugGuide.