Snout Moth: Exploring the Intriguing World of this Unique Insect

Snout moths are fascinating insects named for their mouthparts (palpi) that project outward like a snout. They belong to the crambid snout moth family, which can be difficult to distinguish from the pyralid family. However, by learning to recognize some easily recognizable wing patterns, you’ll be able to tell the difference between the two.

In this article, you’ll learn everything there is to know about these intriguing creatures. We’ll explore their unique characteristics, behavior, and life cycle. You’ll also discover why they’re an important part of our ecosystem and the role they play in maintaining a healthy environment. So let’s dive in and get to know the snout moth better!

Snout Moth Description

Color and Size

Snout moths are often characterized by their mottled brown color, which helps them blend in with their surroundings. They come in varying shades of brown and the size of these moths can vary, but they are generally small to medium in size.

Wings and Wingspan

The wings of a snout moth are essential to its unique appearance. Their forewings are elongated, with squared-off wingtips, and the dorsal wing pattern is orange with wide dark borders and white spots. The size of their wingspan can differ among species, but it contributes significantly to their overall appearance and their ability to move through their environment.

Elongated Labial Palps

One of the most distinctive features of a snout moth is their elongated labial palps (mouthparts), which give them the appearance of having a long “snout” or nose. There is only one species of snout butterfly in North America, and their unique elongated palps set them apart from other butterflies and moths.

To summarize, the snout moth can be identified by its mottled brown color, elongated wings, and unique “snout” made up of the elongated labial palps. These features make this moth an interesting and distinctive presence in the world of butterflies and moths.

The Snout Moth Life Cycle

Eggs

The snout moth life cycle starts with the female moth laying eggs. You may find these small eggs in clusters, usually on the underside of leaves or on tree trunks. They usually hatch within a week or two, depending on the temperature and humidity of their environment.

Caterpillar

Once the eggs hatch, the tiny caterpillars start feeding on plant leaves to grow and develop. This stage is crucial for the snout moth’s survival, as they need to store enough energy to become a pupa. During this time, they may undergo several molts, shedding their old skin and growing a new one.

  • Keep an eye out for the markings on their body, which can help you identify the specific species.
  • Caterpillars eat a variety of plants, but each species may have preferred host plants.

Pupa

When the caterpillar has reached its maximum size, it stops eating and finds a safe location to pupate. Here, it forms a protective shell called a pupa or chrysalis. This stage is a remarkable transformation process in which the caterpillar undergoes metamorphosis and turns into an adult moth. Pupation usually lasts a few weeks, varying depending on temperature and species.

  • Understand that some species form their pupae on the ground, while others create a more secure silk cocoon.
  • Environmental factors, such as temperature and humidity, can significantly impact the duration of the pupal stage.

Adult Moth

After emerging from the pupal stage, the adult snout moth is now ready to take flight. Its primary goal is to find a mate and reproduce, starting the life cycle anew. Adult moths typically have a short lifespan, as their primary purpose is to lay eggs and continue the species.

  • Note that adult snout moths vary in size, color, and wing patterns depending on the species.
  • Remember that adult moths are usually seen during nighttime, attracted to lights found around your home or garden.

By understanding the stages of the snout moth life cycle, you can learn to identify and appreciate these fascinating creatures in their natural habitats.

Habitat and Distribution

North America

In North America, Snout Moths find their habitat in various environments, such as riverbanks, wetlands, woodland, and gardens. These moths are commonly referred to as grass moths in this region. They thrive in places where vegetation is abundant and can be found throughout the continent, including the Ozarks1.

Mexico

In Mexico, Snout Moths also inhabit diverse habitats. Here, just like in North America, they can be found near riverbanks, wetlands, and woodland areas. Additionally, they may frequently be seen in gardens where they can benefit from the flourishing plant life.

Worldwide

The distribution of Snout Moths is not limited to North America and Mexico; they can be found in numerous locations across the globe. While the specific habitats may vary based on regional plant life, Snout Moths generally prefer areas abundant in vegetation. This allows them to thrive and reproduce effectively.

Remember, you can encounter Snout Moths in many types of environments, especially where there is ample vegetation. From North America and Mexico to other continents, these colorful insects play an essential role in their ecosystems.

Snout Moth Species

There are many species of snout moths belonging to the families Pyralidae and Crambidae. You might have heard of pyralid moths such as the almond moth, cacao moth, cactus moth, and dried fruit moth; while crambid snout moth species include Mediterranean flour moth, grease moth, locust bean moth, and raisin moth. With their diverse habitats, they can often be found around stored food, nuts, and flowers.

Here are some common species and their scientific names:

  • Almond moth: Cadra cautella
  • Cacao moth: Ephestia elutella
  • Mediterranean flour moth: Ephestia kuehniella
  • American Snout: Libytheana carinenta

Snout moths are named for their mouthparts (palpi) that project outward like a snout. It’s interesting to note that despite their similarities, Pyralidae and Crambidae species might have slightly different wing patterns, making them easier to recognize.

A comparison of some key features:

Feature Pyralidae Crambidae
Mouthparts Snout-like Snout-like
Wing Pattern Can be distinctive Can vary between species
Habitat Stored food, flowers Stored food, cornfields

Some characteristics of snout moths include:

  • Scales on the base of the proboscis
  • Finger-like projections near the mouth
  • Both families feed on plants and stored food products

In conclusion, snout moths are an interesting group of insects with a wide range of species and distinctive features. You can identify them by their snout-like mouthparts and variable wing patterns. Understanding their characteristics and differences will help you recognize which family they belong to and how they might impact food storage or agricultural crops.

The Snout Moth Diet

The Snout Moth is an interesting creature with a unique diet. It primarily feeds on food plants such as nettles and alligatorweed stem borers. They also consume nuts and seeds, broadening their dietary range.

  • Food plants: Nettles and alligatorweed stem borers are the main source of nourishment.
  • Nuts and seeds: In addition to their primary diet, snout moths enjoy these as well.

Here’s a comparison table to better understand their preferences:

Food Source Details Examples
Food plants Main source of nourishment Nettle
Alligatorweed
Nuts and seeds Secondary diet component Acacia seeds

So, as you learn more about snout moths, remember that their diet primarily consists of food plants like nettles and alligatorweed stem borers, but they do occasionally snack on nuts and seeds. This dietary variety helps keep these fascinating creatures alive and thriving in their natural environment.

Human and Ecosystem Connections

Snout moths might not be the most popular insects, but they do have significant ecosystem connections which indirectly affect you. For example, they play a part in food chains, acting as a food source for predators like birds and mammals.

Snout moths and their larvae play even more important roles as pollinators and decomposers. This helps maintain the balance of various ecosystems and contributes to your everyday life.

When it comes to economic importance, snout moths can have both positive and negative impacts. Their larvae feed on various plants, which can sometimes lead to crop damage, resulting in economic losses. However, this can also serve as a natural form of pest control for overgrown plants.

You should be aware of the conservation status of snout moths if you care about their role in ecosystems. While most snout moth species have stable populations, some others face threats due to habitat loss and climate change.

In summary, snout moths are important in:

  • Food chains
  • Pollination and decomposition
  • Economic impacts (both positive and negative)
  • Conservation efforts

By being more aware of snout moths and their connections to humans and ecosystems, you can better understand the broader implications of their existence and appreciate their role in your environment.

Interesting Facts

Snout moths are unique insects that belong to the large group of moths called Pyraloidea, which also includes butterflies and skippers. Here are some interesting facts about them.

Snout moths are active during the night and can be spotted between May and August. They have distinctive mouthparts (palpi) that project outward like a snout, which is why they are called snout moths. Some examples of snout moths include the Hypena proboscidalis, also known as the common nettle moth, and the Libytheana carinent, better known as the American snout.

These moths display various colors and patterns on their wings. Some have dark borders and white spots, while others feature yellow stripes or dark green hues. The European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis, is another example of a snout moth species and is identified by its squared-off wingtips and violet-gray wing edges.

Snout moths can be found in different regions, including Texas and Missouri. They belong to the Nymphalidae family, which is one of the largest families of butterflies, also known as brushfooted butterflies.

The caterpillars of some snout moths rely on specific plants as their food source. For instance, the Hypena proboscidalis caterpillars feed on common nettle plants, while the Libytheana carinent caterpillars can survive on hackberries.

In summary:

  • Snout moths are active between May and August
  • Their unique mouthparts resemble a snout
  • They have diverse wing patterns and colors
  • They can be found in various regions like Texas and Missouri
  • Snout moth caterpillars depend on specific plants for survival

These fascinating insects can often be lured out and studied using light-traps, which attract the moths at night and allow for closer examination. With various colors, patterns, and behavior, snout moths are certainly an intriguing group of insects worthy of exploration.

The Family of Lepidoptera

Lepidoptera is a diverse and fascinating family of insects to which the Snout Moths belong. In this family, you can also find butterflies and more than 180,000 species of moths, including the well-known brown moths. The name Lepidoptera comes from Greek words that mean “scale” and “wing,” which is fitting, as their wings have tiny scales that create the vibrant colors and intricate patterns you can see.

One example of a Lepidoptera species is the Lymantria dispar dispar, commonly known as the gypsy moth. It is a species of brown moth often observed in North America and Europe. Gypsy moth caterpillars are known to cause defoliation and other damages to trees when they feed on the leaves.

Some common features of Lepidoptera, in general, include:

  • Scaly wings
  • Slender bodies
  • Six legs
  • Two antennae
  • Complete metamorphosis from egg, larva (caterpillar stage), pupa (chrysalis or cocoon), to adult

You might be interested to know that Lepidoptera have unique characteristics that involve a close relationship between butterflies and moths. While a key difference is how they hold their wings after they have landed, they share similarities in their feeding habits during their larval stage, cocooning processes, and pollination of various plants.

Let’s compare the key features of the three entities to have a better understanding:

Entity Appearance Color Nocturnal/Diurnal Feeding Habits
Lepidoptera Scaly wings, slender bodies Varied Both Larvae feed on plants; adults feed on nectar
Butterfly Bright, colorful wings Vibrant Diurnal Caterpillars feed on plants; adults sip nectar
Brown Moth Dull, large or small wings Brown Nocturnal Caterpillars feed on plants; adults sip nectar

In the Lepidoptera family, Snout Moths form a subfamily called Pyralidae. These moths are named after their elongated mouthparts, which resemble a snout. Just like other moths and butterflies, they also play a role in pollinating plants and providing food for other creatures. So next time you encounter one, take a moment to appreciate the beauty and complexity of these fascinating insects.

Footnotes

  1. Ozarks Wildlife – Snout Moths

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 – Blue Moth from Ecuador is Pyralid Moth

 

Subject: a question – a blue moth from Ecuador
Location: Ecuador, Amazon basin, Napo, Cuyabeno
June 27, 2013 2:36 pm
Dear Colleague,
I would like to ask you as expert on moths some enthomology information. In the attachment I sent you the photo of the tropical blue moth from Ecuador, Amazon basin, Napo Province, Cuyabeno. Can you help me, please, with the exact determination?
Thank you very much for your kind help.
Cordially,
Veronika P.
Signature: Veronika

Unknown Blue Moth
Unknown Blue Pyralid Moth

Dear Veronika,
We decided to check the quantity of email that arrived today prior to going to sleep, and we are posting your photo, but we will not begin to attempt to identify your blue moth until we awake.

Update:  Possibly Blue Tiger
Hi again Veronika.  Your moth resembles the Blue Tiger,
Hypocrita plagifera, pictured on the Learn About Butterflies website.  While it is not identical, it does look close enough to be related, which would mean it might be classed with the Tiger Moths in the subfamily Arctiinae.  We will contact Julian Donahue to see if he can provide any information.

Julian Donahue provides a correction:
It’s a pyralid! And there are bushels of colorful ones in the Neotropics.
Julian

Dear Daniel,
thank you very much for your useful information, I am very glad. Originally, I found also the photo of Hypocrita plagifera on the website some time ago. But  since the graphics on the wings is not the same as I was not sure.
I am grateful for your help. I think it is not necessary to give this photo on the website. I would like to ask you to remove the photo of the blue moth from the web.
Thanks so much for your time and help :o)!
Cordially,
Veronika

With all due respect Veronika, we will not remove your photo from our website.  You used our standard form which has a disclaimer that all photos and information submitted might be posted on our site.  We spent considerable time doing research and formatting your photo and email for the web.  We contacted an expert who provided a family identification for your Pyralid Moth.  We did this all free of charge as a public service for you.  Your photo will remain live in our archives.

Thanks so much for your good news, Daniel, I am very pleased that my photo of the moth with blue wings was included in this nice form in your valuable entomological archive. Fingers crossed your virtuous activities :o)!
Veronika P.

Thank you Veronika,
Now that we have a family Pyralidae for your moth, we might be able to get a genus or species identification.

Letter 2 – Cucumber Moth from Australia

 

Diaphania indica
Location: Nth Burnett. Queensland Australia
May 7, 2012 12:33 am
Hi guys,
Thought you might like this shot of Diaphania indica taken in my vegetable garden where cucumbers and rock melon are growing..
This is a female. They use the tufted abdomen to disperse pheromones by waving it around when they land. The other interesting thing about these is that they only have four legs.
Signature: Aussietrev

Cucumber Moth

Hi Trevor,
Your Cucumber Moth is a dead ringer for our North American Melonworm Moth, a relative in the same genus.  Photos of the Cucumber Moth can be found on Oz Animals.

Letter 3 – Prickly Pear Borer

 

Subject:  Unknown bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Southern California
Date: 11/08/2018
Time: 04:21 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, my family found a blue and white striped caterpillar and this website is the only place that jas a picture of it we would love your help.
How you want your letter signed:  Thank you for your time and consideration, Emily Quick

Prickly Pear Borer

Dear Emily,
This Caterpillar looks familiar to us, and we suspect we have previously identified it somewhere in our archives.  It reminds us of a Carpenter Moth Caterpillar in the family Cossidae, but we cannot substantiate that suspicion at this time.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist in this identification.

Prickly Pear Borer

Update:  November 21, 2018
Thanks to a comment from Karl, we have identified this Prickly Pear Borer.  According to BugGuide other common names include:  “banded cactus borers (larvae of junctolineella and subumbrella) and blue cactus borers (larvae of dentata and prodenialis).”

Prickly Pear Borer

Letter 4 – Coffee-Loving Pyrausta Moth

 

Subject: Small pink moth
Location: Southern Indiana
August 7, 2012 10:01 am
Dear Bugman,
Your website is really amazing. This is the first time I’ve had to utilize it personally. I can’t seem to identify this moth. It is very tiny. I was thinking something in the genus Pyrausta (species possibly laticlavia) but I am not certain. What do you think?
Signature: Stumped BugGirl

Coffee-Loving Pyrausta Moth

Dear Stumped BugGirl,
We believe you have nailed the genus
Pyrausta, but we believe we have found a better species match.  The part of the wing that attaches to the body is pink on your moth, and all the examples of Pyrausta laticlavia on BugGuide have a more orange color in that area.  We believe Pyrausta tyralis, the Coffee-Loving Pyrausta Moth, is a closer match based on the images posted to BugGuide which includes numerous photos of moths visiting similar composite flowers during daylight hours.  You can also compare your individual to the photos on the Moth Photographers Group and there are many beautiful images on Steph’s Virtual Butterfly Garden that were taken in Florida.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you for the quick response and for the work you put into this website. It is a great tool!
Sincerely,
Elaina

Letter 5 – Coffee Loving Pyrausta Moth

 

Subject:  Is this a chickweed moth?
Geographic location of the bug:  Palm Bay, Florida
Date: 11/10/2017
Time: 05:41 PM EDT
I’ve seen a few of these in the weeds around my house. The pictures of chickweed moths I’ve seen are mostly yellow with a bit of pink. These guys are mostly pink with a bit of yellow.  Are they some kind of geometer?
Peace from Florida!
How you want your letter signed:  Bill

Coffee-Loving Pyrausta Moth

Dear Bill,
We believe we have correctly identified this pretty little pink and orange moth as a Coffee-Loving Pyrausta Moth,
Pyrausta tyralis, thanks to The Moth Photographers Group.  According to BugGuide:  “Munroe lists the larval host as the wild coffee Seminole balsamo (Psychotria nervosa, Rubiaceae), which is limited to Florida. HOSTS database also lists purplestem beggarticks (Bidens connata pinnata, Asteraceae), and species of Dahlia (Asteraceae).”  The flower upon which your individual is feeding appears to be a Beggar’s Tick, based on the image posted to Emily Compost.

Daniel,
Thanks for that great information.

Peace,

Bill

Letter 6 – Cucumber Moth from Namibia

 

Subject: clear wing moth
Location: Swakopmund Namibia
May 4, 2017 7:11 am
Hi
Please tell me this is a new species
Signature: svensown@yahoo.co.uk

Cucumber Moth

Dear swensown,
This is NOT a Clearwing Moth.  Because of its striking resemblance to the North American Melonworm Moth, we knew this had to be a relative in the same genus, which allowed us to quickly identify the Cucumber Moth,
Diaphania indica, thanks to the African Moths site.  The species is also well represented on iSpot.

Thanks very much. You’re info is awesome. Keep it up. Well done

Letter 7 – Dogbane Saucrobotys Caterpillars

 

Subject: Larvae identification
Location: Southwest MI
August 31, 2016 12:18 pm
I have several tent nests on the Prairie Dogbane (I believe this is the plant, though my MIL says it’s milkweed) growing in my front yard. These are silky nests on the leaf ends of the plants, and they aren’t found on any other plant species in my flowerbeds. The eggs are tiny and dark, almost black, and the larvae are less than an inch in length, orangish in color, with black spots and no hairs. The larvae may still be immature, though there were several sizes in the nests, and these were the largest I found. Can you identify these insects? Are they beneficial or pests? Thanks for your help!
Signature: Val

Dogbane Saucrobotys Caterpillars
Dogbane Saucrobotys Caterpillars

Dear Val,
Thanks for providing the name of the food plant, because we didn’t have a clue about the identity of these caterpillars, but we quickly identified them as Dogbane Saucrobotys Caterpillars,
Saucrobotys futilalis, thanks to this image on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Caterpillar feeds on dogbane, Apocynum species, including Apocynum cannabinum (Indian Hemp), and on milkweeds, Asclepias species, including butterfly weed, Asclepias tuberosa (Maryland Moths). Larvae make conspicuous silk nests on their host plant.”

Letter 8 – Mystery: Unknown Moth from Tennessee is Boxwood Leaftier Moth

 

I’ve never seen a moth like this
May 30, 2010
I found it this morning hanging out on our front porch light in Memphis, TN. It was very small – less than an inch. Ever seen one like this?
Tim
Memphis, TN

Boxwood Leaftier Moth

Hi Tim,
This sure is a crazy looking moth, and we do not know what it is.  Microlepidoptera always give us a hard time.  We will post this as a mystery announcement and hopefully we will get some assistance.

Boxwood Leaftier Moth

Thanks.  Someone on BugGuide just identified it as Galasa nigrinodis – Boxwood Leaftier Moth.
Tim

Update:  Moth Identified
May 31, 2010
Bugophile sent us a comment yesterday identifying this creature as a Boxwood Leaftier Moth, Galasa nigrinodis, and we found matching images on BugGuide “Larvae “tie together and eat dead leaves of boxwood.” (1) Boxwood is Buxus, apparently not native to North America. B. sempervirens is called “American Boxwood”, likely due to its longstanding popularity in cultivation. The moth appears to be native to North America–it is unclear what the native hostplants might be, perhaps other genera in the family Buxaceae. Allegheny Spurge, Pachysandra procumbens is one such native plant, but no information can be found on its possible hostplant status.

Letter 9 – Orange Spotted Flower Moth

 

Subject: Is this a moth?
Location: Wesley Chapel, Florida
August 12, 2015 7:04 am
Hello, I spotted this beautiful little bug on my Pink Guara yesterday.
What kind of bug might it be?
Thanks,
Signature: Michele

Orange Spotted Flower Moth
Orange Spotted Flower Moth

Dear Michele,
This pretty little diurnal Snout Moth is known as an Orange Spotted Flower Moth or Red-Waisted Florella Moth,
Syngamia florella.  According to BugGuide it:  “Flies rapidly but short distance when disturbed, tends to settle on underside of foliage.” 

Letter 10 – Pondside Pyralid Moth

 

Subject: Pondside Pyralid moth
Location: Mancelona, MI
June 27, 2014 7:15 pm
Dear awesome people whom I adore,
Would you like a bunch of already-identified moths for your archives? I’m currently taking a field course in Animal Ecology in northern lower Michigan, and the area is just crawling with all sorts of wonderful moths. So I’ve been spending most of my free time id-ing moths. And because you’re awesome people I’d like to pass some of them on to you–particularly moths that you don’t seem to have archived yet. I’ll send them as separate emails for ease of sorting. First up (unless you’d rather not have them), this lovely Pondside Pyralid Moth (Elophila icciusalis). I didn’t take measurements (I’m sorry! Moths are hard to measure when they’re flocking around lamps in hopes of finding true love!), but according to Bugguide their wingspan is 16-26 mm.
(I tried to send this a minute ago but it didn’t want to go; if this is a duplicate email, I apologize!)
Signature: Helen

Pondside Pyralid Moth
Pondside Pyralid Moth

Hi Helen,
Interestingly, we formatted all of your submissions in the inverse order that you sent them, but that means that folks who visit our site today will actually read them in the correct chronological order.  We have already addressed some issues that you bring up.  We greatly appreciate all your research.  We know how much time that takes, especially with smaller moths.  Even identification to the family level is sometimes very labor intense.  According to BugGuide, the Pondside Pyralid Moth is somewhat unique in that “larvae are aquatic; adults found near larval habitat, and are attracted to light.”  BugGuide elaborates with “larvae feed on aquatic plants such as buckbean, duckweed (Lemna spp.), eelgrass, pondweeds (Potamogeton spp.), and sedges” and “Larvae and pupae protect themselves in a case made of plant material.”  Thanks again for filling gaps in our archive with your wonderful images.  Now that we have posted all of your submissions, we can respond to one of those paranoid requests with blurry images, most of which do not get posted.

Thank you so much for the kind words, and for posting my pictures! I’ll keep sending them, but at a slower rate. About the difficulty of identifying moths–oh my goodness, yes. However, I’ve found an absolutely invaluable tool for that. Discover Life has an extensive moth id guide, which you can browse by state or at the level of the whole country. It allows you to select your moth’s characteristics (primary color, wing shape, size, pattern, etc.) so you can narrow it down considerably–and if there’s less than a hundred results you can do a side-by-side comparison. They’ve got guides for dragonflies/damselflies/skimmers, caterpillars, and a whole lot of other things as well! While it may not be perfect or completely comprehensive, it’s been a lifesaver anyway.
Sincerely,
Helen

Thanks for the tip Helen.  We like hearing about new resources for insect identification.

Letter 11 – Sparganothis Fruitworm Moth on Hemp

 

Subject:  Pyralidae on hemp?
Geographic location of the bug:  Alabama
Date: 06/09/2019
Time: 07:30 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found on young hemp transplant inside greenhouse.
How you want your letter signed:  Benjamin Bramlett

Sparganothis Fruitworm Moth Moth

Dear Benjamin,
We believe this is a member of the superfamily Pyraloidea, which includes the families Pyralidae and Crambidae, but we are not having any luck identifying the species.  We do not believe it poses a threat to your hemp plant.  Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck with an identification than we have had.

Update:  June 11, 2019
Thanks to a comment from Karl, we now know that this is a Sparganothis Fruitworm Moth, Sparganothis sulfureana, a Tortricid Moth in the family Tortricidae, a new category for our site.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on a variety of forbs and woody plants, including some crops, such as corn (maize) and cranberry.” Tortricids of Agricultural Importance does not list Cannabis as a host plant, but it is surely a woody plant and we will have to retract our earlier statement about it not posing a threat to Benjamin’s hemp plant.  It might pose a threat.

Very interesting! Even in an area where blueberries (apparently a pest of cranberry and blueberries) are abundant I have never heard of this species before. It seems to be polyphagus so I will keep my eye out for damage to the hemp. I suspect it will not prefer to reproduce on the hemp so it will migrate but time will tell  Thank you for the update

Letter 12 – Pyralid Moth on Peach Trees

 

Subject: Black and white moths in the peach and nectarine trees
Location: Torrance, CA
July 26, 2013 11:33 pm
I know I have Oriental Fruit Moth larvae in my fruit, but this isn’t the adult. These guys are hanging out in my peach and nectarine trees. What’s my new worry?
Thanks in advance!
Signature: Linda Eremita

Pyralid Moth
Pyralid Moth

Hi Linda,
We believe this is a member of the superfamily Pyraloidea which contains Crambid Snout Moths and Pyralid Moths.  There is a Peach Pyralid Moth,
Dichocrocis punctiferalis, but if this photo on FlickR is to be believed, it is not your moth.  We also located an antique print of the species.  We may need to do additional research on this, and as we are leaving town unexpectedly, we hope to have a more definite answer to you in the next day.

Julian Donahue provides an identification
Always a detour. First, the name of your moth.
Yes, it’s a pyralid, but these days it’s in the Crambidae, split from the Pyralidae.
The moth is Glyphodes onychinalis (no common name), a native of Indo-Australia that was recently rediscovered in California (an earlier population disappeared) in Culver City by Don Sterba. It’s larvae feed on ornamental oleander (Nerium oleander) and the milkweed Gomphocarpus fruticosus (both of which impart toxicity to the adults).
The adult moths perch on any variety of nearby trees, but most certainly came from larvae that fed on nearby oleander. The record from Torrance is an apparent range extension, and the moth may be expanding its range from where it first appeared (most likely an accidental introduction).
I’m attaching a better photo from Don Sterba, the original discoverer of the new infestation, but note that it is copyrighted and may not be suitable for What’s That Bug?
Julian

Letter 13 – Red-Waisted Florella Moth

 

Subject: Mystery Moth in Florida
Location: Gainesville, Florida
November 1, 2012 7:51 pm
I saw this beautiful moth this morning in Paynes Prairie State Preserve in Gainesville, Florida. It was small, maybe about 1” long. I’ve never seen one like this before, and hope someone can help me ID it.
Signature: Krista

Red-Waisted Florella Moth

Dear Krista,
We really didn’t know where to begin searching for the identity of this lovely little moth, so we did an image search for “spotted moth Florida” and one of the images that came up is this FlickR posting of a Red-Waisted Florella Moth,
Syngamia florella, also called an Orange Spotted Flower Moth.  We verified that identification on BugGuide where it states “The diurnal moth is also attracted to lights.”

Thank you for your prompt reply and your good searching skills!

Letter 14 – Carrot Seed Caterpillar on Dill

 

Subject: Bug on dill
Location: Southern Michigan
July 11, 2017 3:57 pm
I found these living on my dill plants, any ideas? They are pretty small, about as long as a grain of rice maybe and so far ive found 3. I live in southeastern michigan. And its summer here right now.
Signature: Thank you

Carrot Seed Caterpillar on Dill

We have not had any luck identifying your caterpillar.  The only caterpillars we can find associated with dill in Eastern North America is the Black Swallowtail Caterpillar, and your caterpillar is most definitely not a Black Swallowtail Caterpillar.  Your caterpillar does remind us of the Sophora Worm, but they feed on legumes and dill is not a legume.  Perhaps one of our readers will recognize this caterpillar.

Ive talked to another girl I know and she said its called a purple carrot seed caterpillar/moth.  Ever heard of those?

The Carrot Seed Caterpillar pictured on BugGuide does appear correct.  According to BugGuide:  “The larvae feed on umbellifers, particularly wild carrot” and “‘Recently introduced into North America (first specimen reported from 2002) and now known from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin’. * (information from – Moth Photographers Group). “

Letter 15 – “Curled Leaf” mimic Moth from Trinidad is Arbinia todilla

 

Subject: Trinidad Moth
Location: ASA Wright Nature Centre, Trinidad
April 18, 2015 10:56 am
Thought this would be an easy one but am coming up short.
Signature: Steve nanz

Moth
Snout Moth

Dear Steve,
The illusion of a curled dead leaf that this Moth creates is magnificent.  Even the antennae look like the petiole of the leaf.  We will continue to research its identity, and we hope our readership may assist in the matter. 

Moth
Snout Moth

Letter 16 – Unknown Dead Leaf Mimic Moth

 

leaf bug??
Location: southwest ohio
July 8, 2011 11:10 pm
this was hanging around the front porch light, around 11 pm est. looks like it should be a leaf bug, dont know if they have fuzzy legs though. it was small, less than half an inch
Signature: bibef

Unknown Moth

Dear bibef,
Other than knowing that this is a Moth, we haven’t a clue as to the family, much less the species.  This is going to take considerable research on our part as we have no clue where to begin to search.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist in the research.  Keep tuned to our website for any future updates.  This moth, which we suspect will not be confused with any other species once it is identified, is a very effective dead leaf mimic, however, we could not locate it on this Conservation Report webpage dedicated to creatures that mimic leaves.

Unknown Moth

Update: Boxwood Leaftier Moth
ID for July 8’s “Unknown Dead Leaf Mimic Moth”
July 12, 2011 11:36 pm
Graham Montgomery and Corey Husic at BugGuide identify this moth as probably being the Boxwood Leaftier, Galasa nigrinodis (#5552 on the Hodges list); see http://bugguide.net/node/view/544549. The BugGuide images of this species certainly make it seem like a good match!
Signature: W. Randy Hoffman

Ed. NOte: Here is the BugGuide link to the Boxwood Leaftier Moth.


Letter 17 – What’s That Costa Rican Moth??? Siga pyronia

 

Subject: Costa Rica moth no. 1
Location: Arenal area, Costa Rica
February 18, 2014 5:59 am
Came to lights at Arenal Observatory Lodge, about 600 meters elevation, Caribbean slope. I identified about 80 others, but none of the books that I could obtain or websites that I found helped with this one. Pictures taken in December 2013.
Unless you have access to better resources than I could find online, please don’t take a lot of time on this. I looked at all the sites listed on this useful page http://www.aprairiehaven.com/?p=14485, in particular the Dan Janzen and Cameron Prybol cites, which where very useful for identifying most of my other moth pictures.
Thanks.
Signature: Ben Jesup

Unknown Moth
Siga pyronia

Hi again Ben,
Thanks so much for resending this image using our standard form and also for providing additional information.  Its robust body indicates it is a larger moth.  Can you recall the approximate size?  It reminds us of moths in the family Erebidae, which includes the Tiger Moths, Underwing Moths and the Black Witch.  This really is a pretty moth with such subtle coloration.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide an identification.

Yes, it is gorgeous–the most striking of the moths that I wasn’t able to identify.  (I did stumble across another picture of online somewhere, but it was unidentified there as well.)  And yes, it was pretty good sized, I would say at least a three-inch wingspan.  I was thinking it might be in one of the genera not too far from the underwing moths, but there are also so geometrids with a similar shape.  Maybe I should try to contact Dan Janzen or Cameron Prybol and see if they would be willing to take a look at the ones I couldn’t identify.
I’m a bit of a Luddite, but sometime I will try to figure out how to post all of pictures so that others might benefit from all of the work that I did trying to identify them.
Thanks again.
Ben

Karl provides an identification:  Siga pyronia
Hi Daniel and Ben:
What a beauty! My initial thought was Geometridae but that didn’t pan out so I had to widen my search. Having no luck at my usual sites, I turned to an old favorite of mine that I have been ignoring recently. The Electronic Biologia Centrali-Americana (EBCA) provides access to a vast wealth of information about the fauna of Central America. The information appeared originally in a series of thick volumes, published in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It can be a little daunting, but always rewarding. Your moth is Siga pyronia, a Crambid Snout Moth in the Family Crambidae. As far as I can tell the genus has only one other species, the gorgeous Moonlight Queen (Siga liris), which lives in South America. The EBCA provides an illustration (see figure 7) and good description on page 198, in: Lepidoptera-Heterocera. Vol. II (1891-1900) by Herbert Druce. In Ben’s photo, what appear to be grey colored bands are actually almost clear (hyaline) bands that allow the grey background to show through. The BoldSystems website also has a number of good pictures. Regards. Karl

Good morning Karl,
We are thrilled to be able to provide Ben with an identification thanks to your meticulous research.

Excellent!  Never would have guessed that it was a Crambid.  And thanks for the reference to the EBCA, which I hadn’t heard of.  It helped me identify a butterfly from my trip.  I looked through all of the moth plates, but couldn’t easily find any of my other unidentified moths.  I’d be curious to hear what Karl’s “usual sites” are—maybe they would help me identify the others.
Thanks again.
Ben

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.

22 thoughts on “Snout Moth: Exploring the Intriguing World of this Unique Insect”

  1. Hey Daniel and Lisa and Tim
    Looking through Bugguide, think your moth might be a Pyralid, the Boxwood Leaftier Moth -Galasa nigrinodis. Range is Eastern North America. Caterpillars “tie together and eat dead leaves of boxwood.” If thats not it, it must be close…

    Reply
  2. Thanks so much! Now I don’t feel so bad that I couldn’t figure this one out. And luckily I don’t have any oleanders. You guys are the best!
    -Linda

    Reply
  3. Thanks so much! Now I don’t feel so bad that I couldn’t figure this one out. And luckily I don’t have any oleanders. You guys are the best!
    -Linda

    Reply
  4. I could be wrong, but those look more like palps than antennae to me… I think I can see the antennae back flat against the body…

    Reply
    • Yes, those are the labial palpi. I should have mentioned that when I took the shot I assumed this was something in Erebidae in or near Herminiinae. Compare with Google images of [i]Palthis[/i]. There are however examples in Pyralidae, subfamily Chrysauginae, which are similar. I am wondering if it may be something close to [i]Tamyra ignitalis[/i].

      Reply
    • Thanks Karl,
      Thanks so much for this identification. Upon seeing the list of food plants on Tortricids of Agricultural Importance, we retracted our statement that we doubted it posed a threat to Benjamin’s hemp plant. We have changed our stance to “It might pose a threat.” Daniel is currently out of the office, in Ohio. Fireflies have still not appeared and he is hoping to see some individuals from Brood VIII of the Periodical Cicadas.

      Reply

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