Saturday, October 31, 2009

Salloween: A Late October Moth

The temperatures become colder and we have been getting a lot of rain lately, but that does not mean moths are done for the season. Just this week, another one showed up in the yard. This one gave me some identification trouble at first because I thought it belonged in a different subfamily. Once I figured out that it belonged in Xyleninae and not Hadeninae, the identification fell into place pretty quickly.

I have included a second view from above because I think my camera shows more accurate color when I do not use the flash. There are several sallow moths that persist late into autumn. I believe this one is a Variable Sallow, which has a heavy subterminal band on its forewings with lighter areas on either side. A similar late season species is Bicolored Sallow, which differs in having a dark median line in addition to the subterminal band.

An interesting characteristic of Variable Sallows is that, unlike most moths, they are active from October to May. They have one generation per year and overwinter as adults. Its larvae feed on basswood, cherry, and oak; the latter two are present around the yard. There is a good chance I will see more of these in the coming months.

Here is one final shot to show the moth's underside.