Currently viewing the category: "Noctuoids"

Subject:  Moth?
Geographic location of the bug:  St Petersburg,  FL
Date: 10/09/2018
Time: 06:07 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I saw this insect fluttering around my backyard. I suspect it is some kind of moth.  It was October 6th around 1430. Each time it landed it would pump it’s wings several times slowly before settling down.  What a beauty.  Um…. what is it?
How you want your letter signed:  Del

Spotted Oleander Caterpillar Moth

Dear Del,
This Spotted Oleander Caterpillar Moth is a very effective wasp mimic.  Though you are not located for a direct hit, we hope you don’t have much damage from Hurricane Michael.

Spotted Oleander Caterpillar Moth

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.

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

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

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

Subject:  Unknown bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Tanzania,, Africa
Date: 08/16/2018
Time: 11:12 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Bug seen today at 15.00 near Arusha  Tanzania.
Please identify for me.
How you want your letter signed:  Ivan Wood

Heady Maiden Moth

Dear Ivan,
This is a diurnal Tiger Moth in the subfamily Arctiinae, and we previously identified it as a Heady Maiden Moth,
Amata cerbera, and we received a comment identifying it as Amata mogadorensis, but with no explanation on how to distinguish the two species.  Lepiforum has images of the latter and iNaturalist has images of the former.  At least we know the genus is correct, and we are going with the Heady Maiden Moth because we like the common name.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you for your prompt & comprehensive reply, I am really impressed with your service.
Kind regards,


Subject:  Moth
Geographic location of the bug:  Northern Indiana
Date: 08/14/2018
Time: 05:43 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This guy has been on our garage door all day.  I can’t seem to find him online or in our books.
How you want your letter signed:  Bobbi

Underwing, we believe

Dear Bobbi,
We believe this is an Underwing Moth in the genus
Catocala, so named because they often have brightly colored underwings that are hidden when the moth is at rest, but when it flies, it flashes a color that causes a predator to search for a more brightly colored prey, but when the Underwing lands on a tree, it perfectly blends in with the bark.

Dear Mr. Marlos,
Thank you for your help! I wish I could have seen him fly away last night. I would have loved to see his colors.
If he would have been on a tree, there’s no way we could have seen him.
Thank you again. What a great site you have!!

Subject:  Pink and yellow moth
Geographic location of the bug:  North Central NM
Date: 08/08/2018
Time: 01:31 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi I found this moth and have not been able to identify it! It’s the end of summer which is our monsoon season and it was hanging out under our patio. It’s about the size of a nickel. It’s so cute!
How you want your letter signed:  Acuriousmom

Owlet Moth

Dear Acuriousmom,
We have two individuals of this very pretty Owlet Moth,
Psectrotarsia suavis, in our archive that are listed as Pink Spotted Flower Moths, but the only real references we are able to locate that uses that common name are on our site and on a link on a BugGuide page to the Primrose Moth, so we don’t believe the common name Pink Spotted Flower Moth is truly recognized since neither BugGuide nor the Moth Photographers Group uses that name, despite its appropriateness.  The only appropriate name for this beautiful moth would seem to be the more general family name Owlet Moth.  Another curiosity is that BugGuide notes:  “The larval host is unknown” so we don’t know what it eats.