Thursday, June 24, 2010

Beautiful Wood Nymph Moth

I found this guy parked next to our front porch light, along with many other nondescript tan and grey moths. I was going to tell them that we had installed "bug lights", but since they didn't seem to notice, why spoil their fun?

After much searching on the internet (he was not in my insect field guide), I finally identified him as a Beautiful Wood Nymph Moth. ("Beautiful" is actually part of his name, and not just my opinion of him.)

You can tell he is not the other common type of Wood Nymph Moth, the "Pearly" type, because of the smooth olive green line between the brown and white parts of his wing. The Pearly Wood Nymph Moth has a scalloped border between the brown and white sections, with no olive line.

Despite his name, this moth has a habit that is not so beautiful - several websites I consulted explained that his markings are meant to make him look like a bird dropping. They must mean when his wings are down, because I have never seen a bird dropping sticking up like he does.

At first, I thought those hairy things sticking out front were his antennae, but they turned out to be his front legs. After he relaxed for a while, he put up his antennae, which had been folded against his body.

Here he is from the front, with his antennae back down again.


  1. Interesting -- my first reaction was not "bird dropping" but "shelf fungus."

  2. I was thinking he is very lucky you found him and not me!

  3. I wonder if they orient themselves horizontally and near other shelf fungi.

  4. How funny: I was thinking "fungus," too.

  5. i found two of these today!! im in broome county NY. i had to look them up too never seen anything like it!! this is the first time ever! kinds of reminded me of a little white monkey with the legs and stuff lol. i was scared he was stuck to my window i cought one and now im going to let him go.

  6. Enjoyed watching one on my kitchen window screen. Caroline County, VA

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