Clymene Moth: All You Need to Know – Quick and Easy Guide

The Clymene moth is a fascinating creature that has captured the interest of many naturalists and enthusiasts alike. As a unique and intriguing species, there are various aspects worth exploring, such as its appearance, habitat, and behavior.

With its distinct markings and delicate wings, the Clymene moth boasts an unmistakable appearance that sets it apart from other moth species. Found primarily in woodland areas and meadows, these moths flourish in environments that support their preferred food sources. Additionally, their nocturnal behavior and attraction to artificial light add to their intriguing characteristics.

Clymene Moth Identification

Physical Features and Colors

The Clymene Moth (Haploa clymene) is a striking day-flying moth known for its unique black and white markings. The body of this moth has a combination of colors consisting of:

  • Black eyes: Providing contrast on the white head and body
  • Yellow stripes: Running down the sides of the body, offering a pop of color
  • White and black wings: Featuring a distinctive triangular pattern

Wingspan

Clymene Moths have a wingspan ranging from 1.5 to 2 inches (3.8 cm to 5 cm). Their wings are divided into two main sections:

  • Forewings: Triangular in shape, predominantly white with black edges
  • Hindwings: White background featuring yellow stripes and black patterns similar to the forewings

Here is a comparison table of the key differences between forewings and hindwings of Clymene Moths:

Features Forewings Hindwings
Shape Triangular More Rounded
Base Color White White
Patterns Black edges Yellow stripes and black patterns

In conclusion, the Clymene Moth is characterized by its stunning black, white, and yellow coloration along with a distinctive triangular pattern on its wings. To identify them, look for their bright yellow stripes and unique wing patterns.

Life Cycle and Reproduction

Eggs

The Clymene Moth (Haploa clymene) begins its life cycle as eggs. Female moths typically lay their eggs on the leaves of host plants, such as oak and peach trees. The eggs are small and inconspicuous, making them harder for predators to detect.

  • Color: Pale yellow or greenish
  • Laid: Late June to early July

Larvae and Caterpillar Stage

Once the eggs hatch, the larvae emerge as caterpillars. They go through several stages, known as instars, while feeding on the leaves of their host plants. The caterpillars can be recognized by their striking color pattern.

  • Color: Orange, black, and white bands
  • Instars: Five stages
  • Active: June to August

During their development, the caterpillars will shed their skin multiple times in order to grow. By late summer, they will have reached maturity and will begin the next stage of their life cycle – the pupa stage.

Pupa Stage

As the caterpillars reach maturity, they find a safe location to form their pupa. Here, they will undergo a transformation from a caterpillar into an adult moth. This pupa stage typically occurs during the fall months.

  • Pupa location: Within leaf litter or soil
  • Overwintering: Yes, in pupa stage

Adult Moth Stage

In late spring or early summer, the adult Clymene Moths emerge from their pupal stage. These moths are characterized by their distinct wing pattern.

  • Color: Brown with white bands
  • Wing span: Approximately 45mm
  • Geography: Eastern United States and Canada

During their short adult life, the moths primarily focus on reproduction. Mating occurs during the warm summer months, and the females lay their eggs to start a new generation.

Charactersitic Caterpillars Adult Moths
Color Orange, black, and white Brown and white
Primary activity period June to August Late spring/summer
Host plants Oak, peach
Geography Eastern United States, Canada Eastern United States, Canada

Habitat and Distribution

Geographical Range

Clymene Moth is mainly found in the eastern United States and eastern North America. Their range spans from Texas to Florida in the south, up to Maine and Quebec in the north1.

Forest and Orchard Habitats

Forest Habitats

Clymene Moth thrives in deciduous forests where they have abundant access to their preferred host plants. These forests contain a variety of trees including:

  • Willow trees (willows)
  • Oak trees

Habits of Clymene Moths may also include parks and suburban areas that have the presence of their food trees2.

Orchard Habitats

Clymene Moths might be found in orchards where some of their host plants such as willows exist. However, they are more likely to be encountered in natural forest habitats rather than orchards.

Behavior and Adaptations

Feeding Habits

The Clymene moth, a type of tiger moth, has a unique feeding behavior. These moths are attracted to flowers with pale or white colors that are heavy with fragrance and produce copious dilute nectar. Their primary source of nourishment is nectar.

Clymene moths are known for their agile flying abilities and some tend to hover above the flowers they visit, while others land on flowers directly to feed.

Predators and Defense Mechanisms

Tiger moths, including the Clymene moth, have developed a few defense mechanisms to protect themselves from predators:

  • Hairy body: Their hairy appearance can make it difficult for predators like birds to grasp them.
  • Bright wings: The striking wing patterns of Clymene moths serve as a warning to predators that they might taste bad or be toxic.

Some common predators of Clymene moths include birds, bats, and reptiles.

Mating Behavior

Clymene moths exhibit unique mating behaviors. Male and female moths can often be seen engaging in a “dance” as a part of their courtship.

Features of the male moth Characteristics of the female moth
Tend to be more brightly colored Generally less colorful than males
Possess feathery antennae Have thinner and less feathery antennae

Males and females rely on their sense of touch during the mating process, rubbing their wings together and intertwining their antennae.

While some moths are attracted to lights during nighttime hours, it’s important to note that Clymene moths are mostly active during the daytime.

Scientific Classification

Family and Genus

The Clymene Moth, scientifically known as Haploa clymene, belongs to the Animalia kingdom and the Arthropoda phylum. Specifically, they are classified under the class Insecta and the order Lepidoptera. Clymene Moths are part of the Erebidae family and fall under the Arctiinae subfamily.

Arctiinae Subfamily

Moths in the Arctiinae subfamily share some common features:

  • Bright and bold wing patterns, which serve as a warning to predators
  • Evolution of chemical defenses to protect from predation

Arctiinae moths are diverse, and Haploa clymene is just one example of the many species within this subfamily.

Arctiini Tribe

Within the Arctiinae subfamily, the Clymene Moth belongs to the Arctiini tribe. Moths in this tribe are known for their impressive diversity in terms of colors, patterns, and sizes.

In a comparison between the Clymene Moth and another classic example with Arctiini consist:

  • The Clymene Moth has a white cross pattern on its wings, while other members may have dots, stripes, or other patterns
  • Both exhibit features such as an evolved chemical defense system and striking colors schemes that help to deter predators

In conclusion, the Clymene Moth is a fascinating member of the Arctiini tribe with its unique cross-patterned wings and specialized defense mechanisms. This small yet striking moth serves as an excellent example of the diverse nature of the Arctiinae subfamily within the broader insect world.

Conservation and Human Interaction

Population Status

The Clymene Moth is not considered an endangered species, so its population status remains stable. However, like other moths, they play a vital role in the ecosystem.

Role in Ecosystem

  • Pollination: Clymene Moths contribute to pollination by visiting flowers while feeding on nectar.
  • Food source: They serve as an important food source for various insectivorous creatures like birds, bats, and spiders.

Moth Observation and Education

Museum and Natural History

Clymene Moths can be found in natural history museums, providing an educational opportunity for people to learn about their characteristics, life cycle, and habitat.

Ageratina Altissima (White Snakeroot)

Clymene Moths are known to be attracted to Ageratina altissima, also known as white snakeroot. This plant offers the following benefits for moth observation:

  • Attracts various moth species, creating a diverse observation experience
  • Provides an opportunity for moth identification and conservation education

To summarize, Clymene Moths are an important part of the ecosystem and offer valuable educational opportunities through museum exhibits and natural observations. Their attraction to Ageratina altissima highlights their role in pollination and enhances the experience for moth observers.

Footnotes

  1. [https://example.com/clymene-moth-geographical-range]

  2. [https://example.com/clymene-moth-forest-habitats]

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Clymene Moth

 

“My spiritual moth” the Clymene
June 29, 2010
Hello Daniel, thank you so much for your speedy reply to my last letter regarding the Longhorn Beetle “Spined Oak Borer”! I really appreciate your reply, honestly thought that I might not get a reply considering how busy you guys are,which of course would be understandable. Once again your site is awesome and although im still trying to figure out my way around it, I am getting better. With these pictures that I am enclosing, thanks to your website I was able to make a postive Id on this beautiful moth, or well of course I believe I have, if I am correct it is the Clymene Moth. Although I have been able to identify it, I seen that on your site you just had a couple of other pictures of this same moth, so I wanted to send you mine and let you make the decisi on whether or not you wanted to post it.. I have only seen this moth a couple of times in my life, yet it always seems to come at a time in my life when I need a spiritual lift, as was true when I come across this one this morning as I got up to get my husband off to work. He works in the coal mines and leaves very early for work, I constantly worry about him being underground, and when we got up this morning I really needed a spiritual blessing. So here are the pics of my “spiritual” moth, hope you and your readers enoy this beautiful blessing as much as what my husband and I have. Thanks again and look forward to when I need another one of “God’s little creatures” identified.
Tina
Dryden VA

Clymene Moth

Hi Tina,
Thank you for your nondenominational ruminations on spirituality.  We have had people in the past associate the markings on the Clymene Moth’s wings with symbolism and iconography.  We received a letter in the past week with a blurry image of a Clymene Moth and we considered posting it, so your high resolution image is greatly welcomed.  More information on the Clymene Moth, Haploa clymene, can be found on BugGuide.

Letter 2 – Clymene Moth

 

Arctiidae?
Could you identify this moth? It was photographed in south Louisiana. Thanks.
Stacey

Hi Stacey,
This is a Tiger Moth in the family Arctiidae. It is a Clymene Moth, Haploa clymene.

Letter 3 – Clymene Moth

 

Owlet Moth?
August 13, 2009
This preaty fellow was hanging out a few nights ago. According to BugGuide it seems to fall into the owlet moth catagory. There are no colorful ones like this on that sight, nor any that matched on yours that I could find. It was about 1.25-1.5 inches in length. Had pale yellow and black markings on the wings, and a bright orange head. Most of the moths up here look like leaves, so this one caught my eye, I wasn’t sure if he was trying to be disgued as something, but I couldnt make out anyting in the pattern. Thanks again!
Jess
Rhode Island, USA

Clymene Moth
Clymene Moth

Hi Again Jess,
We are in that “just one more” mode of posting and we really need to rush off to work.  This is not an Owlet Moth.  It is a Tiger Moth, Haploa clymen, commonly called the Clymene Moth.  You may read more about it on BugGuide.  Tiger Moths and Owlet Moths are both in the superfamily Noctuoidea.

Letter 4 – Clymene Moth

 

Moth, butterfly, or something else?
Location: Raleigh, NC
June 19, 2011 9:00 pm
Saw this outside tonight on the bushes. I initially thought it was a moth, but didn’t see the feathery antenna that I though moths have. Can you help identify it?
Thanks!
Signature: Mike

Clymene Moth

Hi Mike,
Not all moths have feathery antennae, but you can be assured that no butterflies have feathery antennae.  This is a Clymene Moth,
Haploa clymene, and it is classified as one of the Tiger Moths.

Letter 5 – Clymene Moth

 

Subject: bug ID
Location: Herndon, Fairfax County, Virginia
July 3, 2012 9:41 am
I saw this moth-like bug on the trellis of my mandevilla vine. I thought it had very unusual markings. Can you ID. In the meantime, I’ve named it ”Crusader Moth”.
Signature: shutter bug

Clymene Moth

Dear shutter bug,
As much as we love the name you have coined, Crusader Moth, the true common name for
Haploa clymene is the Clymene Moth.  Your name is a nice reference to the graphic markings on the wings and their similarity to the heraldic symbols used by crusaders.

Letter 6 – Clymene Moth

 

Subject: Unique moth for my yard
Location: Winchendon, MA
July 22, 2012 9:16 pm
Hi Bugman,
I thoroughly enjoy the bugs that I see around my yard throughout the spring, summer, and fall months. Moths are one of my favorites, along with dobsonflies, katydids, and the various spiders that populate the area. However, this is a moth that I have not seen before so I would appreciate if you could identify it for me. I see that a person from the neighboring town of Athol recently found a unique moth in her area (I have not seen the tiger moth around my property either!) so here is another beauty that I believe to be unique to our area. Thanks for your services, and it goes without saying that your website is FANTASTIC.
Signature: Mike Fearing

Clymene Moth

Dear Mike,
Thank you for your kind compliment.  This little beauty, the Clymene Moth, is another species of Tiger Moth.  Your photo which shows the underwings as well as the upper wings, is a very nice addition to our archives.
We need to go back through our recent mail because we received an unopened email with Clymene Moth as the subject line and we should consider posting that letter as well.  If we had posted it, you might have been able to self identify your individual.

Letter 7 – Clymene Moth

 

Subject: Clymene Moth
Location: Bradford, NH
July 22, 2012 8:23 am
Hi,
My husband came across this moth when he was working on our barn. He found it around 8:15 in the morning. Some consider this moth to be spiritual, a cross on it’s back or an image of Jesus on the cross, you decide. One site I stumbled across said, ”If you find this moth your prayers have been answered and where you found it will be protected by angels”. I’m not a religious person but this moth was found one week to the day and time my father passed away.
I love this website. You have so many species of bugs and the site is very informative! Thank you!
Signature: Lee

Clymene Moth

Dear Lee,
There is a long history of various cultures associating moths, but more commonly butterflies, with the notion of rebirth or resurrection because of the metamorphosis process from a dormant pupa to a winged and beautiful imago or adult.  We have no problem with spirituality being associated with insects and we find the complexity of life on our planet to be absolutely divine.  We just finished posting another image of a Clymene Moth that was submitted today as well, but in that image the cruciform pattern was not as apparent as the moth was revealing its peach and black underwings.

Letter 8 – Clymene Moth

 

Subject: Holy Moth
Location: Atlanta, GA
May 5, 2014 6:52 pm
Hi bugman,
Love the site use it all the time to identify critters, thanks you that!
One day i was outside my back door and i saw this Moth (i guess).The fact that i was praying at the time really surprised me. I’m still taking it as a sign from God But…
I wanted to know it’s name, although i have already named it the Cross Moth, and how common are these types of moths,because I haven’t seen one since,?
So would love to hear from ya!
Signature: Kash

Clymene Moth
Clymene Moth

Dear Kash,
You are not the first person to have interpreted the appearance of a Clymene Moth as a sign of divine intervention.

Letter 9 – Clymene Moth

 

Subject: Some kind of moth
Location: Vermont
July 25, 2014 2:00 pm
Isn’t this unique?
Signature: MG

Clymene Moth
Clymene Moth

Dear MG,
More than one reader has commented that the pattern on the wings of the Clymene Moth,
Haploa clymene, resembles religious symbolism, more specifically a cross.

Letter 10 – Clymene Moth

 

Subject: Butterfly, Moth or Something Else?
Location: Iron Station, NC
August 8, 2014 5:26 pm
My husband photographed this pretty creature late afternoon August 8th on our concrete sidewalk. Can you please tell us what this is?
Signature: Ridgerunner

Clymene Moth
Clymene Moth

Hi Ridgerunner,
This pretty Tiger Moth is commonly called a Clymene Moth
When it reveals its lovely orange underwings, the religious illusion many folks see in the wings is no longer apparent.

Letter 11 – Clymene Moth

 

Subject: Knights Templar Bug
Location: 36.13°N 78.66°W (Elev. 341 ft)
July 4, 2016 12:09 pm
Last Sunday, 26th June, I walked out on my patio sidewalk to get in my card to go to Mass. As I past by some of my bedding plants, I looked down and saw this bug on one of my Rudbeckia flowers. I was really taken by it and have no doubt why it was there. You see, I am Franciscan by nature and belong to the Catholic Secular Franciscan Order. Can you identify the bug for me? I have been calling it the “Knights Templar Bug”, since its image reminds me of one of the shield a Templar Knight would carry.
Signature: Louis Coker

Clymene Moth
Clymene Moth

Dear Louis,
You are not the first person who has written to us after noticing religious symbolism in the markings of the Clymene Moth.

Wow, that was quick, but I guess if you are a bug expert, it would be easy to identify given its unique markings.  Many thanks for solving the mystery.
Louis Coker

Letter 12 – Clymene Moth

 

Subject:  Cool moth
Geographic location of the bug:  West Michigan
Date: 08/02/2018
Time: 11:16 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This is the coolest moth, have no idea why it is in my living room.  Would like to know what it is and the caterpillar that goes with it please.
How you want your letter signed:  Tracie

Clymene Moth

Dear Tracie,
This is a Clymene Moth,
Haploa clymene, and this is an image of its caterpillar from BugGuide.

Letter 13 – Clymene Moth

 

Subject:  Black & white moth
Geographic location of the bug:  Southern Ohio
Date: 08/04/2018
Time: 08:59 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Curious as to what this moth is, have tried googling it but no luck.
How you want your letter signed:  Curious Rae

Clymene Moth

Dear Curious Rae,
This is a Clymene Moth,
Haploa clymene, and according to Butterflies and Moths of North America:  “Conspicuous on leaves during the day; active both day and night.”

Letter 14 – Clymene Moth and Polyphemus Moth

 

two moth photos
Your site is wonderful! I’m a big insect person, and I’ve often needed help identifying insects, especially moths and butterflies. The photos people submit are lovely! I know you’ve already got both of these on your site already (Clymene moth – Haploa clymene, and Polyphemus moth – > Antheraea polyphemus), but I thought perhaps you might like them anyhow. Please keep up the great work! (Both of these were taken at my house in Tallassee, AL. In the clymene photo, you can see my cat Gizmo eyeing the moth
Kristina Pendergrass
Auburn University, AL

Clymene Moth Polyphemus Moth


Hi Kristina,
So sorry for the long delay. We are posting both of your photos on our moth 2 page. The Polyphemus image is one of the nicest we have ever received. It seems funny seeing them side by side as the scale is so different, but they appear almost equal in size.

Letter 15 – Clymene Moth or Pittsburgh Steelers Moth

 

Help ID the Pitt. Stealer Moth
Everyone is driving me up the wall, they want to know what kind of moth this is. I have looked on the net and in some books. But nothing. I live in Northwest Al. Found this on the porch a couple of mornings ago. It is about the size of a silver dollar. I call it the Loon Moth, some are calling it the Pitts. Stealer moth.
Sherry Waldrep
Cherokee Al

Hi Sherry,
We would love to lobby to have the name of the Clymene Moth, Haploa clymene changed to the Pittsburgh Steelers Moth

Letter 16 – The Clymene Moth

 

Cool Moth
Hi,
My husband and I found this moth one evening this summer and then over the next two weeks there were tons of them. They were our constant companions as we enjoyed our deck after dark. It has a creamy yellow back edged with black and a black pattern on the wings that looks like a fleur-de-lis or a sword. The underside is a deep rich orange. Any idea what it is?
Thanks,
Kim Z.

Hi Kim,
The common name for Haploa clymene is the Clymene Moth. According to Holland, there is much confusion in the classification of this genus due to variations in the amounts of black and white on the wings. Your moth, however, is a constant species which ranges from New England to Georgia and westward to the Missisippi. One of the food plants is willow. It is a member of the Tiger Moth family Arctiidae.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Clymene Moth

 

“My spiritual moth” the Clymene
June 29, 2010
Hello Daniel, thank you so much for your speedy reply to my last letter regarding the Longhorn Beetle “Spined Oak Borer”! I really appreciate your reply, honestly thought that I might not get a reply considering how busy you guys are,which of course would be understandable. Once again your site is awesome and although im still trying to figure out my way around it, I am getting better. With these pictures that I am enclosing, thanks to your website I was able to make a postive Id on this beautiful moth, or well of course I believe I have, if I am correct it is the Clymene Moth. Although I have been able to identify it, I seen that on your site you just had a couple of other pictures of this same moth, so I wanted to send you mine and let you make the decisi on whether or not you wanted to post it.. I have only seen this moth a couple of times in my life, yet it always seems to come at a time in my life when I need a spiritual lift, as was true when I come across this one this morning as I got up to get my husband off to work. He works in the coal mines and leaves very early for work, I constantly worry about him being underground, and when we got up this morning I really needed a spiritual blessing. So here are the pics of my “spiritual” moth, hope you and your readers enoy this beautiful blessing as much as what my husband and I have. Thanks again and look forward to when I need another one of “God’s little creatures” identified.
Tina
Dryden VA

Clymene Moth

Hi Tina,
Thank you for your nondenominational ruminations on spirituality.  We have had people in the past associate the markings on the Clymene Moth’s wings with symbolism and iconography.  We received a letter in the past week with a blurry image of a Clymene Moth and we considered posting it, so your high resolution image is greatly welcomed.  More information on the Clymene Moth, Haploa clymene, can be found on BugGuide.

Letter 2 – Clymene Moth

 

Arctiidae?
Could you identify this moth? It was photographed in south Louisiana. Thanks.
Stacey

Hi Stacey,
This is a Tiger Moth in the family Arctiidae. It is a Clymene Moth, Haploa clymene.

Letter 3 – Clymene Moth

 

Owlet Moth?
August 13, 2009
This preaty fellow was hanging out a few nights ago. According to BugGuide it seems to fall into the owlet moth catagory. There are no colorful ones like this on that sight, nor any that matched on yours that I could find. It was about 1.25-1.5 inches in length. Had pale yellow and black markings on the wings, and a bright orange head. Most of the moths up here look like leaves, so this one caught my eye, I wasn’t sure if he was trying to be disgued as something, but I couldnt make out anyting in the pattern. Thanks again!
Jess
Rhode Island, USA

Clymene Moth
Clymene Moth

Hi Again Jess,
We are in that “just one more” mode of posting and we really need to rush off to work.  This is not an Owlet Moth.  It is a Tiger Moth, Haploa clymen, commonly called the Clymene Moth.  You may read more about it on BugGuide.  Tiger Moths and Owlet Moths are both in the superfamily Noctuoidea.

Letter 4 – Clymene Moth

 

Moth, butterfly, or something else?
Location: Raleigh, NC
June 19, 2011 9:00 pm
Saw this outside tonight on the bushes. I initially thought it was a moth, but didn’t see the feathery antenna that I though moths have. Can you help identify it?
Thanks!
Signature: Mike

Clymene Moth

Hi Mike,
Not all moths have feathery antennae, but you can be assured that no butterflies have feathery antennae.  This is a Clymene Moth,
Haploa clymene, and it is classified as one of the Tiger Moths.

Letter 5 – Clymene Moth

 

Subject: bug ID
Location: Herndon, Fairfax County, Virginia
July 3, 2012 9:41 am
I saw this moth-like bug on the trellis of my mandevilla vine. I thought it had very unusual markings. Can you ID. In the meantime, I’ve named it ”Crusader Moth”.
Signature: shutter bug

Clymene Moth

Dear shutter bug,
As much as we love the name you have coined, Crusader Moth, the true common name for
Haploa clymene is the Clymene Moth.  Your name is a nice reference to the graphic markings on the wings and their similarity to the heraldic symbols used by crusaders.

Letter 6 – Clymene Moth

 

Subject: Unique moth for my yard
Location: Winchendon, MA
July 22, 2012 9:16 pm
Hi Bugman,
I thoroughly enjoy the bugs that I see around my yard throughout the spring, summer, and fall months. Moths are one of my favorites, along with dobsonflies, katydids, and the various spiders that populate the area. However, this is a moth that I have not seen before so I would appreciate if you could identify it for me. I see that a person from the neighboring town of Athol recently found a unique moth in her area (I have not seen the tiger moth around my property either!) so here is another beauty that I believe to be unique to our area. Thanks for your services, and it goes without saying that your website is FANTASTIC.
Signature: Mike Fearing

Clymene Moth

Dear Mike,
Thank you for your kind compliment.  This little beauty, the Clymene Moth, is another species of Tiger Moth.  Your photo which shows the underwings as well as the upper wings, is a very nice addition to our archives.
We need to go back through our recent mail because we received an unopened email with Clymene Moth as the subject line and we should consider posting that letter as well.  If we had posted it, you might have been able to self identify your individual.

Letter 7 – Clymene Moth

 

Subject: Clymene Moth
Location: Bradford, NH
July 22, 2012 8:23 am
Hi,
My husband came across this moth when he was working on our barn. He found it around 8:15 in the morning. Some consider this moth to be spiritual, a cross on it’s back or an image of Jesus on the cross, you decide. One site I stumbled across said, ”If you find this moth your prayers have been answered and where you found it will be protected by angels”. I’m not a religious person but this moth was found one week to the day and time my father passed away.
I love this website. You have so many species of bugs and the site is very informative! Thank you!
Signature: Lee

Clymene Moth

Dear Lee,
There is a long history of various cultures associating moths, but more commonly butterflies, with the notion of rebirth or resurrection because of the metamorphosis process from a dormant pupa to a winged and beautiful imago or adult.  We have no problem with spirituality being associated with insects and we find the complexity of life on our planet to be absolutely divine.  We just finished posting another image of a Clymene Moth that was submitted today as well, but in that image the cruciform pattern was not as apparent as the moth was revealing its peach and black underwings.

Letter 8 – Clymene Moth

 

Subject: Holy Moth
Location: Atlanta, GA
May 5, 2014 6:52 pm
Hi bugman,
Love the site use it all the time to identify critters, thanks you that!
One day i was outside my back door and i saw this Moth (i guess).The fact that i was praying at the time really surprised me. I’m still taking it as a sign from God But…
I wanted to know it’s name, although i have already named it the Cross Moth, and how common are these types of moths,because I haven’t seen one since,?
So would love to hear from ya!
Signature: Kash

Clymene Moth
Clymene Moth

Dear Kash,
You are not the first person to have interpreted the appearance of a Clymene Moth as a sign of divine intervention.

Letter 9 – Clymene Moth

 

Subject: Some kind of moth
Location: Vermont
July 25, 2014 2:00 pm
Isn’t this unique?
Signature: MG

Clymene Moth
Clymene Moth

Dear MG,
More than one reader has commented that the pattern on the wings of the Clymene Moth,
Haploa clymene, resembles religious symbolism, more specifically a cross.

Letter 10 – Clymene Moth

 

Subject: Butterfly, Moth or Something Else?
Location: Iron Station, NC
August 8, 2014 5:26 pm
My husband photographed this pretty creature late afternoon August 8th on our concrete sidewalk. Can you please tell us what this is?
Signature: Ridgerunner

Clymene Moth
Clymene Moth

Hi Ridgerunner,
This pretty Tiger Moth is commonly called a Clymene Moth
When it reveals its lovely orange underwings, the religious illusion many folks see in the wings is no longer apparent.

Letter 11 – Clymene Moth

 

Subject: Knights Templar Bug
Location: 36.13°N 78.66°W (Elev. 341 ft)
July 4, 2016 12:09 pm
Last Sunday, 26th June, I walked out on my patio sidewalk to get in my card to go to Mass. As I past by some of my bedding plants, I looked down and saw this bug on one of my Rudbeckia flowers. I was really taken by it and have no doubt why it was there. You see, I am Franciscan by nature and belong to the Catholic Secular Franciscan Order. Can you identify the bug for me? I have been calling it the “Knights Templar Bug”, since its image reminds me of one of the shield a Templar Knight would carry.
Signature: Louis Coker

Clymene Moth
Clymene Moth

Dear Louis,
You are not the first person who has written to us after noticing religious symbolism in the markings of the Clymene Moth.

Wow, that was quick, but I guess if you are a bug expert, it would be easy to identify given its unique markings.  Many thanks for solving the mystery.
Louis Coker

Letter 12 – Clymene Moth

 

Subject:  Cool moth
Geographic location of the bug:  West Michigan
Date: 08/02/2018
Time: 11:16 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This is the coolest moth, have no idea why it is in my living room.  Would like to know what it is and the caterpillar that goes with it please.
How you want your letter signed:  Tracie

Clymene Moth

Dear Tracie,
This is a Clymene Moth,
Haploa clymene, and this is an image of its caterpillar from BugGuide.

Letter 13 – Clymene Moth

 

Subject:  Black & white moth
Geographic location of the bug:  Southern Ohio
Date: 08/04/2018
Time: 08:59 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Curious as to what this moth is, have tried googling it but no luck.
How you want your letter signed:  Curious Rae

Clymene Moth

Dear Curious Rae,
This is a Clymene Moth,
Haploa clymene, and according to Butterflies and Moths of North America:  “Conspicuous on leaves during the day; active both day and night.”

Letter 14 – Clymene Moth and Polyphemus Moth

 

two moth photos
Your site is wonderful! I’m a big insect person, and I’ve often needed help identifying insects, especially moths and butterflies. The photos people submit are lovely! I know you’ve already got both of these on your site already (Clymene moth – Haploa clymene, and Polyphemus moth – > Antheraea polyphemus), but I thought perhaps you might like them anyhow. Please keep up the great work! (Both of these were taken at my house in Tallassee, AL. In the clymene photo, you can see my cat Gizmo eyeing the moth
Kristina Pendergrass
Auburn University, AL

Clymene Moth Polyphemus Moth


Hi Kristina,
So sorry for the long delay. We are posting both of your photos on our moth 2 page. The Polyphemus image is one of the nicest we have ever received. It seems funny seeing them side by side as the scale is so different, but they appear almost equal in size.

Letter 15 – Clymene Moth or Pittsburgh Steelers Moth

 

Help ID the Pitt. Stealer Moth
Everyone is driving me up the wall, they want to know what kind of moth this is. I have looked on the net and in some books. But nothing. I live in Northwest Al. Found this on the porch a couple of mornings ago. It is about the size of a silver dollar. I call it the Loon Moth, some are calling it the Pitts. Stealer moth.
Sherry Waldrep
Cherokee Al

Hi Sherry,
We would love to lobby to have the name of the Clymene Moth, Haploa clymene changed to the Pittsburgh Steelers Moth

Letter 16 – The Clymene Moth

 

Cool Moth
Hi,
My husband and I found this moth one evening this summer and then over the next two weeks there were tons of them. They were our constant companions as we enjoyed our deck after dark. It has a creamy yellow back edged with black and a black pattern on the wings that looks like a fleur-de-lis or a sword. The underside is a deep rich orange. Any idea what it is?
Thanks,
Kim Z.

Hi Kim,
The common name for Haploa clymene is the Clymene Moth. According to Holland, there is much confusion in the classification of this genus due to variations in the amounts of black and white on the wings. Your moth, however, is a constant species which ranges from New England to Georgia and westward to the Missisippi. One of the food plants is willow. It is a member of the Tiger Moth family Arctiidae.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

13 thoughts on “Clymene Moth: All You Need to Know – Quick and Easy Guide”

  1. I saw a Clymeme moth in my office building on July 15, 2013, in Sterling, VA, right next door to Herndon. The wing design uncannily mimics the “fleur de lis” French heraldry symbol.

    Reply
  2. My husband passed away one week ago today after a seven month battle with cancer. I left home to take cupcakes to the nursing staff at the chemo center. When I returned this moth was on my front door! I have an out of focus picture of it if you would like to have it – had never even heard of one, let alone ever seen one. My hands were shaking so badly that I was afraid it would fly off before I could take the picture. What an amazing sign. I now know that he is ok, at peace and without pain…..

    Reply
    • I had never seen one before. One appeared on my fathers garage “work bench” last couple weeks before he died of cancer. Stayed in the same spot – I thought it must be dead but I didn’t want to touch it. It was gone day after he passed.

      Reply
  3. I saw this moth for the first time today 8/4/14, on a metal post outside a small shopping mall here in Ulster Co., New York in the Hudson Valley.
    It is quite striking and beautiful.

    Reply
  4. I saw this moth for the first time today 8/4/14, on a metal post outside a small shopping mall here in Ulster Co., New York in the Hudson Valley.
    It is quite striking and beautiful.

    Reply
  5. Hello, i would like to know,? I have a mayo jar with Cylmene Moth that were egg”s now tiny Caterpillars . does the host moth always die when it lay’s it’s egg’s ??? What is in your opinion the best way to feed them , i’ve been feeding them ivy like leaves? I heard peach leaves were good .Also is the life span of the Cylmene (Jesus Christ) Moth is ?? from after it Chrysalis-Pupa stage to the Egg laying .???

    Reply
    • Many moths in the Tiger Moth subfamily Arctiinae do not feed as adults, and they only live a few days. We are not certain if the Clymene Moth is one of those. According to BugGuide: “Larvae eat a wide variety of plants, including Eupatorium (Asteraceae), oaks, willows.” According to Butterflies and Moths of North America: “Caterpillar Hosts: Eupatorium species, oaks, peach, and willow trees; other plants.” The adult food is left blank, which indicates adults might not feed.

      Reply
  6. hi again , John with the Clymene moth also the best way to perserse the moth’s . I found one with similiar size, wing color, with different pattern . no cross . squares triangles . if could ID FOR me please. JOHN

    Reply
  7. There is one resting on a rooster statue on my front porch. I’ve never seen one before today and I’m 71. Stunningly beautiful. Feeling very fortunate. I live in southeastern Michigan

    Reply

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