Anniversary Moth

| 14 Comments

I found this beige moth today resting on the beige weather stipping separating my front door from the jam. Can anybody identify it?

ann-moth.jpg

Banded Tussock Moth (Halysidota tessellaris)

You can see a larger picture with more discussion at my blog.

Update

Thanks to DougT and PvM for the identification.

14 Comments

Happy Anniversiary. That bug is pretty cool. No idea what it is, but active background matching is not unknown in moths.

See this cool page on background matching by Catocala relicta. This page was done by underwing moth (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) expert Ted Sargent, when he wasn’t saying silly things about Kettlewell and peppered moths.

(Parenthetically, peppered moths are geometrid moths – it appears peppered moths do not show active seeking of matching backgrounds, unlike Sargent’s underwings and your little beige guy there. Peppered moths apparently mostly look for a sheltered spot under a branch or branch-trunk joint.)

Speaking of confused bugs, check out this discussion of this paper:

Gwynne, DT and Rentz, DCF. (1983). “Beetles on the bottle: male buprestids mistake stubbies for females (Coleoptera).” Journal of the Australian Entomological Society. 22: 79-80.

Apparently, in Australia:

Male Julodimorpha have been seen attempting copulation with beer bottles; the color of the bottle and the pitting at its base apparently mimic the color and texture of the elytra [wing case].

I conjecture that this is the fundamental reason that Australian PT denizen John Wilkins is so skeptical of the Biological Species Concept.

Nick wrote

I conjecture that this is the fundamental reason that Australian PT denizen John Wilkins is so skeptical of the Biological Species Concept.

Judging from private reports of the various Howlerfests during his march (?) through North America, he may well be a significant source of the bottles those poor deluded bugs are trying to mate with.

RBH

The yellow and blue-green stripes are quite extraordinary and very much against the otherwise beige leafy/parchment camouflage effect. I suppose there must be an optimum distance and setting for which those stripes become cunningly helpful. There are no stripy ones like that in my UK books though.

[creatobabble on]

Oh come on Reed, we all know, having read many creationist tracts, that moths don’t rest on tree trunks or any conveniently coloured object. Obviously your photo is a fake and therefore: GODDIDIT.

[creatobabble off]

Reed,

I dunno what it is, but may I suggest you visit whatsthatbug.com.

I don’t know. But I do know that since that weather-stripping is intelligently designed any point you’re trying to make about mutation/selection is moot.

And it’s still a moth!

Reed-

I believe that your moth is a Florida Tussock Moth (Halysida cinctipes). Covell’s Moths of Eastern North America describes this as being very similar to the banded tussock moth (H. tessellaris)but with a bluish green middorsal stripe on the thorax (shows ncely in your photo). You are north of the range listed in Covell however- IIRC you are in Georgia and cinctipes is from central and south Florida. I hate it when they don’t read the guide books.

Yes, DougT, Banded Tussock Moth - Halysidota tessellaris See at http://bugguide.net/node/view/9936

That’s Laurie. I dated her a few times in college. Nice girl, but really shy. Preferred to blend into the background. But, like I said, nice girl.

It’s good to see she’s added a little color to her wardrobe.

Yep, looks like the banded tussock moth she be. Here’s a photo of the caterpillar stage of this very attractive little beastie.

PvM:

Interesting. BugGuide shows tessellaris as having the blue markings, and the photo is from North Carolina. Covell lists the blue markings as being characteristic of the Florida species and distinct from tessellaris. I’m guessing that the problem arises out of the use of museum specimens- that kind of color is notoriously fugitive in preserved material. Both the BugGuide photo and Reed’s show the feature nicely.

[sarcasofont on]

I get really tired of everyone using this godless method of comparative analysis to determine the species of an animal. I opt that because we cannot truely ( T ) know what anything is, that we should not bother guessing and acting as fools in the face of the Almighty. God knows what this moth is, shouldn’t that be enough?

[sarcasofont off]

Judging from private reports of the various Howlerfests during his march (?) through North America, he may well be a significant source of the bottles those poor deluded bugs are trying to mate with.

RBH

Was the word you were looking for “stagger” rather than “walk?”

And it’s still a moth!

Indeed. There’s nothing “fundamentally new” about this moth, so who cares what species it is? All moths are probably the same “kind.”

Note: This comment was composed using “creationist logic.”

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This page contains a single entry by Reed A. Cartwright published on August 3, 2005 10:34 PM.

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