Currently viewing the category: "Noctuoids"

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.”   

Subject:  Maybe Cosmosoma but which species?
Geographic location of the bug:  Costa Rica (Paraiso Quetzal Lodge)
Date: 02/13/2020
Time: 07:47 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We saw this bug in Costa Rica near the Paraiso Quetzal Lodge in February. I think it’s a Cosmosoma but I didn’t find the species. Looks like this one:
But I’m not sure it’s possible to have a subflamma in Costa Rica.
How you want your letter signed:  JdA

Wasp Moth: Homoeocera gigantea

Dear JdA,
While you are correct that this is a Wasp Moth in the subfamily Arctiinae, we do not believe you have the correct genus.  We believe based on images posted to Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute that this is
Homoeocera gigantea.

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.

Subject:  Histioea in Ecuador
Geographic location of the bug:  Archidona, Ecuador
Date: 08/28/2019
Time: 01:05 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Have what appears to be a rare Histioea, but cannot identify it. These are seldom photographed from what I can tell. The observation is
How you want your letter signed:  Trevor

Diurnal Tiger Moth: Histioea paulina

Hi Trevor,
We have several diurnal Tiger Moths in our archives identified as
Histioea meldolae, including this individual from Colombia and this individual from Costa Rica.  We will forward your image to Arctiid expert Julian Donahue to see what he can provide in the way of an identification.

Julian Donahue responds.
Hi Daniel,
This is a perfect match for the female of the euchromiine Histioea paulina Walker, 1866, as figured in Seitz, described from São Paulo, Brazil–a long way from Ecuador, but I don’t have any information on the distribution of the species.
Nice moth!

Thanks Daniel and Julian for the id! I will update inaturalist with the info. Much appreciated and very exciting!!

Subject:  Unidentified moth
Geographic location of the bug:  Carrboro NC
Date: 08/22/2019
Time: 04:59 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi all, love your website, and you always seem to find the answer! I found this rather bedraggled moth on a tree trunk. It was fairly large….like a Sphinx moth, but the head looks wrong for a Sphinx…and underwing of some sort? I couldn’t match it with any Sphinx that I knew.
How you want your letter signed:  Mothra

Probably Clouded Underwing

Dear Mothra,
We didn’t have high hopes for providing you with a species name, though we had confidence that this is an Underwing in the genus
Catocala.  We believe this BugGuide image of a Clouded Underwing, Catocala nebulosa, looks like it might be correct.

Subject:  Walnut Underwing Perch
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, California
Date: 08/16/2019
Time: 11:03 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dearest Bugman,
It was lovely spending time with you during the almost full moon. Please enjoy this shot of you with a Walnut Underwing on your shoulder.
How you want your letter signed:  Melanie on the Irish Chain

The Bugman with a Walnut Underwing

Dear Melanie,
We are so happy you were able to get a cellular telephone image of Daniel as he removed the Walnut Underwing back to the outdoors after it entered the house Monday night.  After several minutes of eluding capture, luckily the moth alighted on Daniel’s shirt, and it could easily be walked outside.

Walnut Underwing