Currently viewing the category: "Owlet Moths"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Moth
Geographic location of the bug:  Queensland Australian suburbs
Date: 02/21/2020
Time: 08:09 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I saw a large black or brown moth in my hall way which seemed to have two sets of eyes on its wings, two on the base of the wings and two in the tips. Only when I I had tried taking a photo of the moth I had my flash on and revealed some vibrant purple color on the wings.
How you want your letter signed:  Hope you can help, regards Lachie

Granny’s Cloak Moth

Dear Lachie,
We recall having previously identified this Owlet Moth in the past, and we found this posting in our archives of a Granny’s Cloak Moth
Speiredonia spectans.  According to Butterfly House:  “The moth of this species likes to hide in a dark place during the day and frequently is found in sheds and garages. The adult moth has brown wings with zig-zag patterns all over. The wing scales appear to have a finely grooved pattern that diffracts light to give the appearance of different colours depending on the angle of view. On each wing there is a pronounced eye spot, complete with eyelid!
Alternatively, if the spots on the forewings are imagined to be eyes, then those on the hind wings might be thought of as the nostrils of some large reptile. The moths even show a human-like face if viewed upside-down.
Either way, the appearance may deter possible predators. The moth has a wingspan of about 7 cms.
The adult moths are quite gregarious and seem to like resting in groups of at least a dozen or so. Pheromones probably are involved in this grouping behaviour, but also individuals that hatch on the same host plant (whatever it may be) at the same time would be subject to the same stimuli (light, plant odours etc) and therefore would move together in response. although moths of this size could travel many kilometres so this idea might not be deserving of too much credence.
However, once they find a place where they are secure they don’t seem to travel very far in the subsequent days, so maybe they do not generally fly very far at all. When they rest in groups: all the individuals tend to orient themselves in the same direction. If they are on a wall they are head-up near the ceiling (or eaves of the roof) and they hold their wings so that the patterns have maximum impact if approached from slightly below – the direction from which a bird would approach.
The moths also favour dark places such as caves, to rest during daylight hours, but suffer predation by bats in these places.”   

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  moth in Halloween costume
Geographic location of the bug:  Washington, DC, USA
Date: 10/30/2019
Time: 05:39 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi! I scared up this beauty amid fallen red oak leaves on 10/30/19. I was admiring its leaf camouflage, then I turned it to another angle and realized that it was dressed, one day early, in its Halloween costume of cat-owl-fighter jet. Can you identify it?
How you want your letter signed:  Rachel B

Possibly Lunate Zale

Dear Rachel,
We are confident your Owlet Moth is in the genus
Zale which is represented on the Moth Photographers Group.  Perhaps it is the Lunate Zale, Zale lunata, which is pictured on BugGuide.  Daniel is leaving Los Angeles tonight to fly to your fair city with a group of Journalism students tonight.  He’s hoping it isn’t too cold and rainy.  We are going to tag your posting as the Bug of the Month for November 2019.

Lunate Zale

Update:  November 8, 2019
Daniel rushed to post this submission live the day he left town to travel to Washington DC where his LACC students won both the CMA Pinnacle and the ACP Pacemaker Award for best magazine from a two year school.  He decided in the time crunch to only post the image where the Lunate Zale could be identified.  Now that time permits, he has added this additional image with its interesting and unusual angle.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Moth from south fl
Geographic location of the bug:  Found on a window in S Florida
Date: 05/10/2019
Time: 01:17 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Could not identify my moth in my Audubon Field Guide, thought you might know .
How you want your letter signed:  Laura Rice

Spanish Moth

Dear Laura,
We remember having to identify this pretty little moth in the past, and that it took us considerable time because we thought we were trying to identify a Tiger Moth in the subfamily Arctiinae.  We did remember that it was actually an Owlet Moth, and when we began to attempt an identification, we quickly found the Spanish Moth,
Xanthopastis timais, on Featured Creatures where it states that it is:  “is unmistakable for any other moth in Florida.”  The site also states:  “The Spanish moth, originally described from Surinam, is found throughout lowland areas of South and Central America, and in the Caribbean. The Spanish moth occurs throughout all lowland Neotropical regions of the Caribbean, and as far south as northern Argentina. In North America, the species has a southeastern distribution, from the Carolinas to Texas, but strays northward along the Atlantic Coast as far as coastal New York, and inland as far north as Kentucky and Arkansas. It occurs in all of Florida.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subjec:  Who is she?
Geographic location of the bug:  Townsville, QLD
Date: 01/28/2019
Time: 12:41 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Today I met this fashionable individual while taking shelter from the summer rain. Do you know their name?
How you want your letter signed:  Gabby

Grapevine Moth

Dear Gabby,
This is a Grapevine Moth and we identified it on Butterfly House where it is classified in the subfamily Agaristinae, called Day Flying Moths or Whistling Moths, in the family Noctuidae, the Owlet Moth.  According to Butterfly House:  “The adult is a day-flying moth, with a wingspan of up to 5 cm. The wings are black with striking white bands on the forewings, and a white outer margin on the hindwings. The abdomen is black on top and has orange stripes underneath.  The body has tufts of bright red hair on the tip of the abdomen, and at the bases of the legs. These red hairs project and are visible from above. The adults are gregarious, feed on nectar and live for 2-3 weeks. They had a characteristic fluttering flight and can ascend to 25 m or more. Their overall sex ratio is about 1:1. The adult males have anterior brush organs on which are secreted chemicals thought to be pheromones.”  There is a nice image on Alamy and according to Project Noah:  “A Noctuid moth endemic to the south-eastern part of Australia and is now an invasive species in many other parts of the world. In 1862 the Indian Myna (
Acridotheres tristis) was introduced into Australia to control the Grapevine Moth. The bird is now considered a pest and Grapvine moths are common. I watched a female for ten minutes – first seeking the location of a vine – second happy she was near one she just started releasing eggs; one every 30 seconds while fluttering her wings – third the eggs just fell to the ground around the base of the vine. Over the next few days I noticed scores of tiny caterpillars climbing slowly up the supporting posts. Near enough was good enough I guess.”    

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Budworm Moth caught laying eggs on my woody plant
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 09/12/2018
Time: 07:32 PM PDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
Yesterday I noticed the bane of all home Cannabis gardeners, about eight tiny Budworms, Chloridea virescens, crawling on the righteous colas of My Woody Plant as well as on Abel’s Indica #1.  They were tiny Budworms, probably just hatched, and they didn’t have time to bore into the buds where they begin eating, leaving a shit-filled shell of a bud as they grow.  This morning I found a few more tiny Budworms on the same two plants, and horror of horrors, two buds with signs of a feeding Budworm, the brown and dead florets, and sure enough, larger Budworms were feeding on some swelling buds.  I wrote to Mel Frank and he wrote back that it wasn’t too late to spray Bt, so I started spraying about 6:30 this evening.  It was a beautiful night sky with a sickle Moon, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars all visible just past sunset.  When I began spraying the Purple Fire clone, I saw a moth fly out of the interior of the plant and I missed it with my hand, and I watched it fly toward the plants I had just sprayed.  I had a second chance to catch it and missed, so I got a fish net and caught it on the third try.  I kind of mangled it in the process, but I am certain what I was watching was the Budworm Moth flying from cola to cola laying eggs, which probably explains why I would only find one Budworm per bud.
How you want your letter signed: Constant Gardener

Tobacco Budworm Moth

Dear Constant Gardener,
Thank you ever so much for providing us with your harrowing gardening experience.  It sounds quite stressful.  BugGuide has no information on the Tobacco Budworm feeding on
Cannabis, but it does state the larval foods are “Cotton, tobacco, roses, ground cherries, soybean, and many others” and “Caterpillars feed on buds, flowers, fruits, and seeds, making them an agricultural crop pest.”  We did locate a Springer Link essay “Flight activity of Heliothis virescens (F.) females (Lepidoptera:  Noctuidae) with reference to host-plant volatiles” that states:  “Many phytophagous insects use airborne volatiles emitted from plants to locate their hosts.  The recent development of bioassay systems for studying host-plant finding and ovipositional behavior under controlled environmental conditions in the laboratory has intensified interest in characterization of the specific behaviors regulated by volatile emissions from plants and identification of the active compounds.”  Again, alas, Cannabis in not mentioned.  Do the plants in question produce odiferous airborne emissions?

Tobacco Budworm Moth

Dear Bugman,
Thanks for all that information.  The buds on my plants do smell quite dank.  I keep finding Budworm Eggs, but luckily, not much bud damage.  Here is an image of one of the dreaded Budworm Eggs.  Harvest is near.
Constant Gardener

Budworm Egg

Mel Frank Comments:
Tobacco budworm moth is brown with 3 Chevron markings on wings.i believe they are attracted by terpene fragrances which become prominent during flowering, increasing as they mature. Rarely see them in beginning flowering. Once flowers begin smelling you must spray more often than every two weeks.12 days early and once a week flowering.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Moth
Geographic location of the bug:  Durbanville Hills, South Africa
Date: 09/08/2018
Time: 06:53 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Good day. I came across this beautiful moth at a wedding venue yesterday. About 3cm in length (rough estimate). Any idea how to identify it?
How you want your letter signed:  Francois

Hi
I managed to ID it myself after submitting. It is “Diaphone eumela”, the Cherry Spot.
Thanks!
F

Cherry Spot

Dear Francois,
Thank you for submitting your image of the lovely Cherry Spot, for identifying it and for writing back to us with your identification.  The species is well represented on African Moths

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination