Subject: Moth with eggs
Geographic location of the bug: Mississippi
Time: 04:46 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: This moth laid it’s eggs on the wall right next to my front door, so it was hard to miss. It looks a bit like the Early Thorn moth, but as far as I can tell from my google searches, they are not supposed to be in North America, so I must be mistaken. However, I can’t find a picture of any other moth that is similar so I thought I’d write to you. I have a young child and thought we might have fun keeping track of the eggs as long as the caterpillars that emerge aren’t the kind that sting. If they are I’ll know to be more cautious.
How you want your letter signed: Thanks for all you do,
You are most welcome. We quickly identified this Curve-Toothed Geometer, Eutrapela clemataria, on the Insect Identification site where it states: “The only moth in its genus, the Curve-Toothed Geometer Moth has many distinctive markings that should help in identifying it. When at rest with wings flat, a definitive line that crosses from left to right stops short of reaching the edges of the wings. This line separates dark brown coloring near the head from the lighter brown color at the edge of the wings. The outer edge of the forewings curves downward and ends in a nubby point, or tooth, at the tips of the wings. The hindwings have scalloped edges. A young caterpillar has a brown body that becomes darker and more purple as it ages. It eats the leaves of common trees like ash, oak, and maple. This easily accessible food source makes it almost effortless when expanding its range. Two generations are produced each year in warmer climates. Adults are active from late spring to late summer in wooded areas across the continent.” The green eggs are very distinctive, so we attempted to look for images of eggs, and we found the same images of the green eggs on both BugGuide and The Moth Photographers Group. To the best of our knowledge, no Geometer caterpillars, known as Inchworms or Spanworms because of their manner of locomotion, pose a danger to humans. If you decide to try to raise some caterpillars, we would urge you to transfer the majority of the hatchlings to one of the mentioned host trees and try raising about 20 or so in captivity.