Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Day Flying "Mini Moth" - Grapevine Epimenis

I took a walk along a deer path this afternoon, dodging ticks to get yet another photograph of the Spring Beauty wildflowers carpeting the forest floor.

Grapevine Epimenis (Psychomorpha epimenis)

On my way back to the road, I spotted a tiny black butterfly with big spots - white on the forewing and red on the hindwing.

I spotted one yesterday too, but it was so very windy and the butterfly was so very tiny, I couldn't get a photo.  And now there it was, sitting on the road by my car door.  There I was, camera in hand. 

I snapped one photo and the flutterby, fluttered off.  Amazing how fast they can go.

I pulled out my field guide to butterflies.  This conspicuous creature wasn't in the book.   You'd think I would have thought - well, if it's not in the butterfly book, maybe it's a moth.  It never crossed my mind.

Stumped, I sent the image to - and I uplinked it to  Turns out it was a moth not a butterfly.  It was so small, I couldn't see the antennae, or I'd have looked at the moth book.

Armed with a name, I discovered on that this woodland day-flier is often mistaken for a butterfly.  The adult Grapevine Epimenis moth feeds on the nectar of plums and cherries.  From late April to June, the orange-headed black and white caterpillar feeds from a rolled up leaf "tents" on summer, fox, riverbank and frost grape vines.

Grapevine Epimenis (Psychomorpha epimenis)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the identification! My family and I found one of these today on our Mother's Day walk and were stumped about what it was until we found you blog post. Awesome!