Common Hyppa Moth

2010 May 1

Back around the middle of March, we had an unusually warm spell, and I found a rather nondescript grayish, hairless caterpillar crawling across the driveway where the snow had melted. So, I picked it up, took it inside, and popped it into a jar where I was already rearing a different caterpillar (intending to get a picture of the new caterpillar later). I didn’t get the chance, though, because it almost immediately burrowed under some grass in the jar and pupated. So, there was nothing for it but to wait and see what, if anything, came out. And then, about 2 weeks later, what came out was this:

The caterpillar had looked rather a lot like some type of cutworm, so I figured it was most likely some type of Owlet moth.

There are lots of kinds of owlet moths, so this was a good candidate to ask for help with. When I posted it on Bug Guide, Bob Patterson of the Moth Photographers’ Group identified it as Hyppa xylinoides, the “Common Hyppa”.

It says on BugGuide that there are two broods a year. The first brood emerges as adult moths in early May, then their eggs mature as a second generation of moths in July. With the second generation then obviously overwintering as caterpillars that pupate first thing in the spring.

The larvae eat a number of different plants, one of which is cranberries. There are some references to it as the Cranberry Cutworm, which suggests that it is enough of a pest of cranberries to at least be given a name. Apparently not too much of a pest, though, seeing as how I’m not turning up much else about it.

This is kind of an attractive moth, in its own pseudo-lichenous way. I just hope that they don’t turn out to be a pest on our new blueberry plants (which are somewhat closely related to cranberries).

One Response
  1. MObugs41 permalink
    May 1, 2010

    What a great experiment and a pretty little moth in a very unassuming way. I have a large cocoon of a silk moth lying on my desk. I am waiting patiently for it to emerge. I think it is a Cecropia Moth, but until it shows it’s lovely head I will not know for sure.

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