Currently viewing the category: "Underwing Moths and Fruit Piercing Moths"

Subject:  Unidentified moth
Geographic location of the bug:  Carrboro NC
Date: 08/22/2019
Time: 04:59 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi all, love your website, and you always seem to find the answer! I found this rather bedraggled moth on a tree trunk. It was fairly large….like a Sphinx moth, but the head looks wrong for a Sphinx…and underwing of some sort? I couldn’t match it with any Sphinx that I knew.
How you want your letter signed:  Mothra

Probably Clouded Underwing

Dear Mothra,
We didn’t have high hopes for providing you with a species name, though we had confidence that this is an Underwing in the genus
Catocala.  We believe this BugGuide image of a Clouded Underwing, Catocala nebulosa, looks like it might be correct.

Subject:  Walnut Underwing Perch
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, California
Date: 08/16/2019
Time: 11:03 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dearest Bugman,
It was lovely spending time with you during the almost full moon. Please enjoy this shot of you with a Walnut Underwing on your shoulder.
How you want your letter signed:  Melanie on the Irish Chain

The Bugman with a Walnut Underwing

Dear Melanie,
We are so happy you were able to get a cellular telephone image of Daniel as he removed the Walnut Underwing back to the outdoors after it entered the house Monday night.  After several minutes of eluding capture, luckily the moth alighted on Daniel’s shirt, and it could easily be walked outside.

Walnut Underwing

Subject:  Moth
Geographic location of the bug:  Northern Indiana
Date: 08/14/2018
Time: 05:43 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This guy has been on our garage door all day.  I can’t seem to find him online or in our books.
How you want your letter signed:  Bobbi

Underwing, we believe

Dear Bobbi,
We believe this is an Underwing Moth in the genus
Catocala, so named because they often have brightly colored underwings that are hidden when the moth is at rest, but when it flies, it flashes a color that causes a predator to search for a more brightly colored prey, but when the Underwing lands on a tree, it perfectly blends in with the bark.

Dear Mr. Marlos,
Thank you for your help! I wish I could have seen him fly away last night. I would have loved to see his colors.
If he would have been on a tree, there’s no way we could have seen him.
Thank you again. What a great site you have!!

Subject:  Unidentified moth
Geographic location of the bug:  Vancouver Island, BC
Date: 07/30/2018
Time: 04:15 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello! Here is a picture of a moth that I found on my door a couple weeks ago. I recently became a  moth enthusiast so I have difficulty IDing some of them, despite long internet searches and owning multiple moth books. What is this particular moth?
How you want your letter signed:  Rachel

Large Yellow Underwing

Dear Rachel,
This looks to us like a Large Yellow Underwing,
Noctua pronuba, which is pictured on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “hindwing yellow with black terminal band; forewing varies from light to dark brown to orangish to grayish, and from almost unmarked to boldly patterned; reniform spot large and either dark or barely visible; small dark patch along costa near apex nearly always present” and “Introduced from Europe to Nova Scotia in 1979, this species has since spread north to the Arctic Ocean, west to the Pacific, and south to the Gulf of Mexico.”

Subject:  Catacola Verrilliana
Location:  Louisa, Va
Date: 09/03/2017
Time: 12:31 PM EDT
We found two specimens of catacola verrilliana on our place in Louisa, Va. It seems that it’s an invasive species mainly found in the western part of the US. We have raised butterflies but have no experience with moths. One of the specimens is alive, so we were wondering what to feed it. Any help or info would be helpful. Thanks, George Tyler
Your Name:  George Tyler

Underwing Moth

Dear George,
We are curious what caused you to identify your Underwing Moth in the genus
Catocala as Catocala verrilliana, a species we found pictured on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Lafontaine & Schmidt (2010) listed 101 species of the genus Catocala in America north of Mexico. Powell & Opler (2009) reported 110 species in all of North America.”  In our opinion, many species are very difficult to distinguish from one another, and we would speculate that you more likely encountered a species known to range in your area.  We browsed through all the species of Underwings posted to BugGuide, and we could not conclusively identify your individual.  You can try feeding your Underwing overly ripe fruit like plums or peaches.  If you break the skin, your Underwing will have an easier time feeding.

Thank you for your response.

Subject: Largish Moff in Michigan
Location: SE Michigan
August 20, 2017 2:53 pm
Hello Doc,
I found a big moth on my van’s window frame today. That’s a good indicator of scale, right? I bet it was close to 1 5/8″ long. Do you know the Type?
Signature: -Eric B.

Underwing, we believe

Dear Eric,
We believe this is an Underwing Moth in the genus Catocala, and based on this BugGuide image, it sure looks like The Sweetheart,
Catocala amatrix.  The bare spot on the thorax is a good indication that this is an older individual.  Underwings are so named because their upper wings blend in with tree bark when they are at rest, and if disturbed, they flash often brightly colored underwings, like in this BugGuide image.  Then when the moth comes to rest again and vanishes, it evades getting eaten because any sharp-eyed predator will be looking for much more brightly colored prey.  According to BugGuide:  “larvae feed on leaves of several species of poplar (Populus spp.) and Black Willow (Salix nigra).”