Black and white moth/butterfly
Location: Flagstaff, Northern Arizona
August 20, 2010 11:14 pm
Hi, I live in Flagstaff, AZ. First off, I love your site; my son and I have enjoyed researching bugs here for years. So, we were hiking on Lower Hart Prairie at the base of the San Francisco peaks and just like last year, saw many of these. They flutter and land around the lupine and yarrow. We would love to know what it is.
Your moth is in the genus Gnophaela, and according to BugGuide, there are five similar looking species, but only Gnophaela vermiculata has a common name, and it is a good one. The black and white moth Gnophaela vermiculata is commonly called the Police Car Moth according to Bugguide. It is a diurnal species found in western North America at higher altitudes and it flies in July and August, information that is very consistent with your account. While a lepidopterist might need to examine the specimen to properly identify the species, we are so enamored of the common name Police Car Moth that we are content to identify your moth as that species.