Currently viewing the category: "Geometrid Moths"

Subject:  Interesting moth
Geographic location of the bug:  Springfield, Virginia
Date: 08/30/2018
Time: 11:28 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I saw this moth on my front porch today,  August 30. I think it look like its camouflage is to appear as fungus on a tree trunk. Can you help me with the name of the species? I looked in my North American Wildlife guide, but couldn’t find a match.
How you want your letter signed:  Elena-age 11

Geometer Moth, possibly Euchlaena muzaria

Dear Elena,
While we don’t have time this morning to research the species of your interesting moth, we can tell you it is a member of the Geometer Moth family Geometridae.  We will attempt a species identification later in the day.

Update:  Based on this BugGuide image, we believe this moth is Euchlaena muzaria.  It is also pictured on Discover Life and Moth Photographers Group.

Subject:  Moth identification
Geographic location of the bug:  Herefordshire
Date: 08/06/2018
Time: 10:33 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
I recently have had a lot of moths in my house, all of which different sizes and colours. This one however caught my eye after entering our house late at night after we left our bathroom light on!
I’m wondering if you have ever seen one with this distinct ‘leopard print’?
How you want your letter signed:  However easiest

Magpie Moth

This is a very easy ID for us because we recently misidentified a freshly eclosed Magpie Moth, mistaking it for a Tiger Moth.  According to UK Moths:  “A very distinctive species, this was a favourite with early collectors, who used to breed it to obtain unusual coloured and patterned forms.  Quite common in most of Britain, though less so in Scotland. … The moths fly in July and August and are regularly attracted to light.”

Thank you so much for your time and reply Daniel, that’s absolutely brilliant!!

Subject:  Moth?
Geographic location of the bug:  Nottingham
Date: 07/22/2018
Time: 04:54 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Please can you tell me what this is?
How you want your letter signed:  Elaine

The Magpie newly eclosed

Dear Elaine,
The nonspecific response is that this is a Tiger Moth in the subfamily Arctiinae, and it is freshly eclosed which means it has recently emerged from its pupal stage and its wings have not yet fully expanded and hardened, which is making our ability to identify it more difficult.  It most closely resembles a Garden Tiger Moth,
Arctia caja, as pictured on UK Moths where it states:  “Another species which was a favourite with early collectors, who selectively bred it to create unusual colours and forms.  Once a quite common moth in most of Britain, it seems to have declined in many places in the last few years.  It flies in July and August, and will regularly visit the light-trap.”  We would even entertain the possibility that a modern breeder might be releasing some “unusual colours and forms” back into the wild in an effort to help remedy that they “have declined in many places in the last few years” but the markings on the thoracic region as well as the scalloped wing edge eliminate the Garden Tiger Moth as the proper identification.  The only other Tiger Moth profiled on UK Moths that it resembles is the Cream-Spot Tiger Moth, Arctia villica, but in that species, the spots are white on a dark ground while your moth has dark spots on a white ground.  We are going to contact Arctiid expert Julian Donahue to get his opinion.

Dear Daniel
Thank you for looking into the moth that I saw it will be interesting to hear what your expert has to say. The moth wasn’t really moving and I got very close to it and moved it on it’s stick to photograph, I expected it to fly away but it stayed in the same place.
Correction Courtesy of Julian Donahue:
Easy to be fooled by a colourful (since it’s British) un-expanded moth, isn’t it?

This is The Magpie, Abraxas grossulariata (Geometridae).
More images here:
All the best,


We had a bout of deja vú because according to UK Moths:  “A very distinctive species, this was a favourite with early collectors, who used to breed it to obtain unusual coloured and patterned forms.  Quite common in most of Britain, though less so in Scotland. … The moths fly in July and August and are regularly attracted to light.”

Subject:  diurnal moth from Sulawesi, Indonesia
Geographic location of the bug:  Lore Lindu NP, north-central Sulawesi
Date: 05/13/2018
Time: 04:28 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear bugman –
Could you please help ID this day moth from central Sulawesi, feeding rather unglamorously on some roadkill? It was seen on the 19th of September 2017 on a road through pristine humid forest at an elevation of about 1500m. I think perhaps it could be form the genus Milionia, but I am not a moth expert (at all!). Many thanks!
How you want your letter signed:  Isidoreajar

Geometer Moth from genus Milionia

Dear Isidoreajar,
Based on what we have found on the internet, we believe your genus identification
Milionia is correct, but we cannot find any individuals with these exact marking.  Perhaps it is sexual dimorphism and/or regional color variations.  This image from Etsy and this posting to Wikipedia are similar but not exactly correct. 

Dear Daniel –
Thank you for your prompt reply: I was prepared to be astounded if you had come back with a positive ID as I have had a pretty thorough search (with my limited expertise though!) through the obvious online avenues. Having said that, M. delicatula is very close, just lacking the small red forewing markings. I’ll keep trying!
Many thanks again: your efforts are really much appreciated.
All v best wishes,
Jonathan Meyer

Subject: I this a female Imperial Moth?
Location: Sheboygan, WI
July 4, 2017 8:30 am
I found this moth attached to the siding on our porch in Sheboygan, WI. I have never seen anything like it before. It was about 1 1/2 inches from wing tip to wing tip. The stripe is definitely black, not brown. All of the information I found about Imperial Moths suggest that they are yellow with brown. What is this? Thanks!
Signature: Mary

Yellow Slant Line

Dear Mary,
This very lovely Geometer Moth is not a female Imperial Moth, though both are yellow.  We will be searching BugGuide for its identity, but in the meantime, we are posting it as unidentified.

Hello again Mary,
We identified your Geometer Moth as a Yellow Slant Line, Tetracis crocallata, thanks to images on Moth Photographers Group, and we verified its identity on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on leaves of alder, chestnut, sumac, willow” and “Larva – a twig mimic; young instars have brown head and green body with white intersegmental membranes; older instars have two morphs: (A) reddish-brown with 2 pairs dorsal and 2-3 pairs lateral white tubercles; T1 with forward projections tipped white (B) light brown to gray with no white tubercles; T1 projections present, but not white; morph B is similar to A. pampinaria but has no dorsal tubercles on A7 [adapted from description by Pedro Barbosa].”

Wow! Thanks, Daniel! I wonder how this poor thing ended up in Wisconsin.
I really appreciate your assistance.
Just an FYI, I left it alone. I am not in the habit of killing creatures of any sort.

Dear Mary,
Based on BugGuide data, Wisconsin has reported sightings of the Yellow Slant Line during the months May through August.

Subject: Moth id
Location: Southern Portugal
December 9, 2016 2:41 pm
Could you id this moth for me please. I’ve had no success elsewhere.
The photo was taken in southern Portugal in May.
Signature: David B

Diurnal Moth

Diurnal Moth

Dear David,
Perhaps our readership will have better luck identifying this lovely, orange, diurnal moth since our initial search has not produced an answer for you.  We searched both Encyclopedia of Life Moths of Portugal and The Lepidoptera of Portugal.  We suspect this moth is either in one of the following families:  Geometridae, Pyralidae, or Crambidae.