Subject: UNIDENTIFIED FLYING MOTH/INSECT?
Geographic location of the bug: LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
Time: 06:53 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Can you tell me what this is, and whether I should be worried about it? It looks like a cross between a moth and a scorpion (turned up and pointed lower body). It has been sitting on my window (outside) all day.
How you want your letter signed: Sheila Wasserman
I am thinking that this poor moth has deformed wings and that it cannot fly. It has been in the same position all day on my window. Is there anything I can feed it –I can try to get it into a flower bed and leave some water in a tiny cap. But otherwise, I don’t know what to do with it.
Your moth is an Erythrina Borer, Terastia meticulosalis, and it is not deformed. Moths are often attracted to porch lights and we suspect it will eventually fly away. According to Featured Creatures: “The marbled-brown forewings of Terastia meticulosalis make this species cryptic when at rest. However, its hind wings are white” and “The young larvae of Terastia meticulosalis are found inside the stems of Erythrina herbacea, where their feeding produces a characteristic dying-off of the tip of the host plant.” The host plant is commonly called a coral tree and according to Los Angeles Almanac it is the official tree of the City of Los Angeles.