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

Subject: Haitian Beetle / Mothlike
Location: Pignon, Haiti
October 21, 2012 1:24 pm
I had the great privilage to serve in Haiti last week and was greeted by the following insect. It is hard to describe, but it look like a moth or butterfly at first until it bit me and when I swatted it away it has a hard shell like a beetle. It is about the size of a credit card (maybe alittle smaller)
Signature: Mike

Gaudy Sphinx

Dear Mike,
You are mistaken.  This Gaudy Sphinx is not a beetle and your observations that it is mothlike were astute since it is a moth.  The Gaudy Sphinx,
Eumorpha labruscae, is found throughout Central America and many of the Caribbean Islands, and its range extends as far north as Texas and Florida.  The Sphingidae of the Americas website notes:  “although primarily a tropical species, it has been taken as far north as Saskatchewan and Manitoba” since it is such a strong flier.  Moths have mouthparts that function like straws for sucking nectar and other fluids, and they are not capable of biting.  The sensation you felt was most likely contact with the legs or other body parts when the Gaudy Sphinx collided with you.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: A large, interesting moth
Location: Central Texas
October 18, 2012 11:56 am
Hello Bugman!
Last night while walking to my mother’s house I saw this very large moth fluttering near the porch light. I have never seen a moth quite like this one, the vertical stripes on its wings were so delicate they looked painted. It vibrated its wings very quickly for a few minutes, and then settled down. When it spread its wings, there appeared to be some red coloration. I live in central Texas, and took these photos yesterday (October 17th 2012)
Thanks Bugman!
Signature: Susan

Striped Morning Sphinx

Dear Susan,
Thank you so much for sending in this photo of the legendary Mariposa nocturna de 100 Vatios, or as it is better known, the Whitelined Sphinx,
Hyles lineata, alternately known as the Striped Morning Sphinx.  100 watt light bulbs will attract prodigious numbers of Striped Morning Sphinxes when they are in flight.  See the Firefly Forest for more information on the Whitelined Sphinx.  Sphingidae of the Americas is another wonderful source for this family.

Thanks so much for the informative response. I feel a bit sheepish now seeing that it’s such a common moth, but quite novel to me. In truth, I have always been afraid of moths and butterflies but as of late, have decided to combat my fear with curiosity and knowledge. With the help of your site, I’m finding the world of entomology to be exciting and less than terrifying. Fear really is the basis for hatred and violence, and I can proudly state there is no longer any unnecessary carnage taking place in my home. I’ve always been a fan of beetles and bees, but moths- not so much. These insects and I are finally living in peace, and What’s That Bug is almost solely responsible for the shift in attitude.
Best regards,

Hi Again Susan,
We are happy to hear about your change of attitude, and we are proud to tag your posting with the Bug Humanitarian Award.

I am honored to be tagged with the Bug Humanitarian Award! I wish I could take back my previous actions towards some harmless moths that were just living their lives- but I can’t. I can, however, continue to be compassionate towards them from here on out (relocation via stemware and paper as you suggested has come in very handy in the house!) I think it’s very kind you’d extend the award to someone who was once a villain!
Long live the Striped Morning Sphinx!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Edwards Glassy-Winged Moth
Location: Petaluma, CA
October 16, 2012 3:01 am
Thanks Whatsthatbug! I love your website and have used it frequently to help me identify. I believe the first time I used it was after a recent move to California I needed to identify the ridiculous Potato Bug or Jeruselum Cricket! Tonight I had 6 large pink bodied moths outside and quickly found between your site and a couple others that my visitors were Edwards Glassy Winged Moths. It is October 15, 2012. I saw the first one about a week and half ago, then tonight there were six. stated that ’They are most active in autumn and caterpillars feed on oak trees’, which is fitting since I live under a live oak corridor in Petaluma California. Unfortunately tonight, one also succumbed to my large resident Cross Orb-Weaver Spider, however, also unfortunately it was too high up to get a decent picture. I couldn’t figure out a way to post this additional information that I found so I decided to submit an ask form in hopes that you could post this info for others.
I also learned from, which references Powell, J.A. & P.A. Opler. 2009. Moths of Western North America. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA. Page 273, plate 48.23. that,
Edwards’ Glassywing
Hemihyalea edwardsii
Lepidoptera: Noctuidae
Our largest tiger moth, each forewing with a span of 2.6-2.9 cm. It is known from western Oregon to southern California and the Channel Islands, east to Arizona, New Mexico, south into Mexico. The wings are lightly scaled with tan, especially the tips, making them translucent (thus the name glassywing). Older adults are often missing most of the scales and the wing tips become ragged. The head and thorax are clothed in fine tan hairs, the abdomen bright red-orange (easily seen through the translucent wings). They fly in a single brood from August to October, both sexes attracted to light (white, black [=UV], and mercury vapor). Eggs are laid on oaks, primarily coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia in our area). The caterpillars are brown-black with long hairs. Pupation takes place on or near the oak tree host, in a loose cocoon that includes hair from the caterpillar (as in many other tiger moths).

Edwards’ Glassy-Wing

Hi Annie,
Thank you for supplying our readers with such a thoroughly researched posting of Edward’s Glassy-Wing.  We suspect the recent rain and subsequent warming trend is responsible for the eclosion that you were lucky enough to witness.  Our own local Southern California Tiger Moth, the Painted Tiger Moth, made its first appearance at our garage light last evening.

Edward’s Glassy-Wing


Signature: Annie Schultz

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Moth???
Location: Jacksonville Florida
October 13, 2012 11:25 pm
This photo was snapped by our daughter, avid bug watchers here, never seen these, so pretty, hope it’s not some invasive crop destroyer?!?
Thank you for your time!
Signature: Thomas & Jamie

Male Imperial Moth

Dear Thomas & Jamie,
This is a gorgeous male Imperial Moth,
Eacles imperialis.  Females of the species have more yellow on the wings and males have more purple markings, though the highly variable markings range in color from “pinkish, orangish, or purplish-brown” according to BugGuide.  They are not considered to be crop destroyers.  According to BugGuide, the eating habits are described as:  “Larvae feed on leaves of Bald Cypress, basswood, birch, cedar, elm, hickory, Honeylocust, maple, oak, pine, Sassafras (Sassafras albidum), Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), sycamore, walnut.
Adults do not feed.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Weird bug in oblong casing??
Location: Southern California
October 13, 2012 1:24 am
I found this in my bathroom the other day. I looks to me like a larvae in some kind of sack/cocoon/casing thing. The casing is an oblong shape with two entry/exit holes on opposite sides. The bug inside comes halfway out occasionally, but never completely out. It moves very slowly and pulls the casing along with it, like a hermit crab. The bug itself looks like a tiny caterpillar, like it has many small legs. It appears to be wither white or a very pale yellow with black stripes. The casing is no more than half an inch long.
Thank you so much for your help!
Signature: Derussa

Case Bearing Moth Larva

Hi Derussa,
This is a Case Bearing Moth Larva,
Phereoeca uterella.  According to BugGuide:  “larvae feed on old spider webs; may also eat woolen goods of all kinds if the opportunity arises.”  BugGuide also notes:  “The larval case is silk-lined inside and open at both ends. The case is constructed by the earliest larval stage (1st instar) before it hatches, and is enlarged by each successive instar. In constructing the case, the larva secretes silk to build an arch attached at both ends to the substrate. Very small particles of sand, soil, iron rust, insect droppings, arthropod remains, hairs and other fibers are added on the outside. The inside of the arch is lined exclusively by silk, and is gradually extended to form a tunnel, while the larva stays inside. The tunnel is closed beneath by the larva to form a tube free from the substrate, and open at both ends. After the first case is completed, the larva starts moving around, pulling its case behind. With each molt, the larva enlarges its case. Later cases are flattened and widest in the middle, allowing the larva to turn around inside.”  We suppose they can be considered Household Pests, especially based on this amazing photo from our archive.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Flying Insect-Florida Keys
Location: Marathon, Florida
October 11, 2012 10:42 am
I have been seeing these flying, beautiful bugs for several years in the Florida Keys. Can you tell me about this lovely creature?
Signature: D.Y. Sullberg

Polka Dot Wasp Moth

Dear D.Y. Sullberg,
This Polka Dot Wasp Moth,
Syntomeida epilais, is a very effective wasp mimic.  By imitating a stinging insect, it is able to avoid many predators.  The caterpillar, known as the Oleander Caterpillar, has no problem finding food in the state of Florida because oleander is so widely planted, so this is a relative common insect.

Thank you very much…the caterpillars are definitely chowing down the Oleanders & the moths are hatching from loosely woven black cocoons. We love the colorful moths but the caterpillars are destroying the Oleander hedge. Are they seasonal? Should we spray? Will the foliage grow back?

We don’t give extermination advice.  The foliage will grow back.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination