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Underwing Moths

Posted by David Moskowitz on September 26, 2009 at 7:21 AM

This underwing moth flew into our house the other night when I opened the back door! It was attracted to the back porch light and must have been sitting on the door frame. Underwings are pretty fantastic and have been a favorite of collectors and evolutionary biologists for a long time. The upper wings are shades of gray and brown and are perfect for camoflouging the moth during the day on tree bark. The underwings, where they get their common name, are typically brightly colored and are shown when the insect feels threatened. It is thought that this bright flash of color either startles the attacker, or is enough to disrupt the search image they have and allow the moth a few precious seconds to escape. They are very strong fliers and this one flew all around the house in an erratic way and then would settle down very briefly until I came within about a foot, then it would take right backoff again. I finally cornered it in a bathroom, shut the door and was able to get these photos. I'll look it up in a great book on underwings (which I think is now out of print) Legions of the NIght (buy it if you can find it!) and post which species it is. Enjoy.







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4 Comments

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Reply richardbowcher
1:30 AM on April 27, 2010 
The forewings (wings nearest the head) of underwing moths appear in various shades of gray and brown, but accuplacer test the hindwings are boldly patterned in orange, yellow, red, or white. Underwing moths acsm test are named for the colorful patterns on their hindwings, which are covered by the forewings when the moth is at rest. As a result, the underwing moth's distinctive colors are only displayed during flight. Before an underwing becomes an adult and develops wings, it spends part of its act test life cycle as a hairy, worm-like larva called a caterpillar. The caterpillar feeds at night, rests during the day, and is typically well camouflaged against the twigs or bark on which it rests. When its growth is complete, the caterpillar hides in aepa test tree bark crevices or in leaf litter at the base of the tree and begins its transformation. After about one month, it emerges as an adult moth.