Ambiguous Moth

The ambiguous moth! This delightfully-named little moth may well become my spirit animal. About 2cm across, this tiny brown moth, resembling a very small leaf with a rhinoceros horn, is in the family Erebdiae, the litter moths. Litter moths are named because many of their caterpillars feed on dead plant matter. Adults come in a…

Southern Armyworm Moth

This tiny (8mm) little friend was making him/herself at home on one of my baby sunflowers, and unfortunately had to be (humanely) relocated to other green stuff a distance away. Southern armyworm caterpillars are blackish green to green with a uniform light brown or orange head; otherwise they are quite variable in appearance. There is…

Saddled Prominent Moth

Meet the caterpillar of the saddled prominent moth, Heterocampa guttivitta. This spectacular, bright green caterpillar is speckled with red spots, and has longitudinal yellow stripes, and a huge, flat, almond-shaped head with black, red, and yellow stripes. Apparently the defining characteristic here is the two red and yellow horns, or warts, at the back of…

Sweetpotato Armyworm Moth

Meet the sweetpotato armyworm caterpillar, a reasonably common backyard denizen in the southeastern US, Central and South America. This particular fat little bugger had an uninterrupted evening eating the only one of my sunflowers to successfully bloom, and was not gracious at all when I pulled it off my sunflower and set it on the…

Yellow Mocis

Moths in the genus Mocis are generally medium-sized (about 26mm across), and yellowish with closely related spot patterns. There are five such moths in North America, all in the southeastern US, more or less. The range of the yellow mocis is roughly from the east coast of Texas, all along the Gulf coast, through to…

Yellow-Striped Armyworm Moth

As far as I can tell, this individual was taking a drink out of a tiny puddle on an overturned flowerpot. Its forefeet were not even breaking the surface tension; and, when I checked by later, it had flown safely away. The yellow-striped armyworm moth, which has the enchanting Latin name Spodoptera ornithogalli, is a…

Black-Winged Dahana

The black-winged dahana, Dahana atripennis, is an inch-long, primarily black moth with a red abdomen, orange head, iridescent blue thorax, and two yellow stripes on its black wings. As far as I can tell from photos on bugguide.net, both sexes have those long, attractive, black feathered antennae (or all photos on bigguide.net are of males!)….

Striated Lichen Moth

You’d think there’d be pages and pages written on this glorious little orange and black fellow, but no: Wikipedia has three whole sentences on the striated lichen moth (Cisthene striata). They’re about 10mm long, and differentiated from a number of similarly patterned species by the light gray stripes on the forewings. The Peterson Field Guide…

Saltmarsh Moth Caterpillar

This little fellow is (very probably) a Saltmarsh Moth caterpillar (Estigmene acrea), but again this is one of those “identifications” wherein this could also be any one of a number of closely related species. Below, an earlier instar salt marsh moth caterpillar does an amazing yoga pose: The just-hatched caterpillars are mostly yellow, with little…