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Headless Moths I – Cattail Borer (Family Noctuidae)

Cattail Borer Moths are a half-dozen or so species in the genus Bellura in eastern North America, a continuum of very closely-related, yet distinct, species that differ little in appearance or genetically.
Their semi-aquatic larvae feed on/in leaves and stems of emergent aquatic plants like cattails, arrowhead, pickerelweed, water hyacinth, bur reeds, water lilies, and even skunk cabbage.

Mini-Moths Without Bios I

Mini-moths a diverse bunch. Many of them are diurnal (though several of today’s moths appeared under the BugLady’s front porch light), and the larvae of many species specialize in a single or a limited number of host plant species (the group includes some plant and fiber pests). In this episode, the Orange-Headed Monopis, Speckled Xylesthia, Bidens Borer Moth, Goldenrod Gall Moth, Cream-Edged/Cream Bordered Dichomeris, and the Four-O-Clock Moth are featured.

Lappet Moth (Family Lasiocampidae)

Lappet Moth caterpillars are generalist feeders, found on members of the willow/poplar, rose, ash, oak, birch, and buckthorn families. Their Tent caterpillar kin can be destructive on a variety of hardwoods, but there are no red flags about Lappet Moth caterpillars from any of the Extension, forestry or exterminator sites.

Woolly Bears (Family Erebidae)

The Woolly Bear du jour is the ultra-familiar rust-and-black-banded caterpillar of the Isabella Tiger Moth (Pyrrharctia isabella). The caterpillar has its own names—the generic Woolly Bear, the Black-ended Bear, and the Banded Woolly Bear.

Prominent Caterpillars (Family Notodontidae)

The Prominents are a bunch of long-winged, hairy, often-drab, mostly-tropical moths. Of the 3,800 species in the family, 138 are found in North America (half of them in Eastern forests). Prominents generally lay their eggs on the undersides of leaves, where the larvae may initially feed gregariously. Caterpillar menus are generally limited to one or just a few host plants per species.

Arched Hook-tip Moth (Family Drepanidae)

There are about 660 species in the Hooktip and False Owlet moth family worldwide (only 8 in the eastern U.S.A.). Drepanid moths are medium-sized moths (wingspread 1” – 1 ½”) that have uniquely-formed hearing organs, and many (but not all) have hooked wing tips. According to the range map, Arched Hook-tip Moth is largely missing from the Great Plains and the Gulf Coast but is present across Canada.

Midsummer Report

The BugLady would like to dedicate this episode to the late (great) Cornell Professor Richard B. Fischer (January 19, 1919 – August 7, 2005) who taught the BugLady how to sneak up on insects (no bobbing or weaving, just slow and steady and straight ahead.

Bugs Without Bios VIII

Today we feature three bugs about whom not too much information is circulating, other than their presence in museum collections and on state/regional biodiversity lists. If they have anything in common, it’s that all three are odd little insects.

The Very Unexpected Cycnia (Family Erebidae)

The Cycnia Moth is in the Tiger and Lichen moth family Erebidae. The UC (Cycnia inopinatus) is found in the U.S. east of the Great Plains into Massachusetts, and south into Mexico. Sources say that it prefers “high quality coastal scrub (including the Great Lakes drainage), dry, oak barrens, and similar native grasslands, typically on sand.”

Zale Moths (Family Erebidae)

The Zales Moths are a genus in the Wavy-lined Owlet bunch—family Erebidae and subfamily Ophiusini. They are decent-sized moths (wingspans just under two inches), and oh, those wings! Depending on how worn the moth is, the trailing edge of both the front and the hind wings sport a row of cool little scallops.