Light gray moth with a bald spot

2012 January 4

And here[1] we see the heartbreak of male-pattern baldness

Sam caught this rather nondescript moth for me on June 14, 2011. It was reasonably good-sized (about two centimeters long), but almost utterly lacking in anything I can use as identifying features. Here it is on Sam’s fingers, with its wings a bit spread:

Its most obvious feature is the bald spot on its back. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be useful for species ID, because browsing around for “bald moth” pictures I find this bald patch cropping up on other moths that are otherwise not much like this one, and that gradually go bald. It looks like this moth was losing his hair gradually, and probably had a full coat of fuzz when he was younger. And I say “he” because his antennae are a bit on the feathery side.

Other than that, I’ve got no idea what kind of moth this is. Probably some kind of Noctuid, but that doesn’t narrow it down much. If anybody has a better notion of what it is, please let me know!

[1] Yes, this is Wednesday, and up until now I have normally only posted on Saturdays. The thing is, I’ve built up quite a big buffer of postings (I’m writing this on October 2, so I’m three months ahead of myself right now [2]), and still have a huge backlog of pictures to process. So, I thought this year I could try going for two postings per week instead of one. You all can now expect a new creature (or, sometimes, updated photos of an old creature) both on Saturday morning and on Wednesday morning from here on.

[2] Update as this posting goes on-line: Even at two postings per week, I’ve not only been able to maintain that 3-month buffer, I’ve even extended it a month-and-a-half further, to the middle of May. So it looks like I’m not going to have any particular problems keeping up a twice-per-week schedule.

16 Responses
  1. January 4, 2012

    Midweek moths are fine, but it was confusing for a while there — I was going all “Whaaaaaaa? I’m sure I spent some time Sunday catching up on my blog reading!”

  2. January 5, 2012

    Surprise! 🙂

  3. January 7, 2012

    That’s no bald spot, that’s the radome for the moth’s GPS receiver.

  4. January 8, 2012


    Actually, now that you mention it, I wonder if maybe having a bare spot helps it to detect the ultrasound pulses from hunting bats? All that fuzz would tend to muffle the sound. Boy, that would be hard to check experimentally, though.

  5. stacy carter permalink
    September 22, 2014

    what is this moths scientific name

  6. September 23, 2014


    I don’t know. I never was able to get an ID any more specific than probably being something in the family Noctuidae.

  7. Paul Venter permalink
    April 4, 2017

    “.. wonder if maybe having a bare spot helps it to detect the ultrasound pulses from hunting bats?”

    I had the same idea and wonder whether any research has been done… you know of anything?….

  8. Chloee permalink
    August 7, 2017

    I found one just now that looks exactly like this one except it has 3 symmetrical black dots on each wing.

  9. Natasha permalink
    August 25, 2017

    My Cats have just bought in a moth which looks very similar. Red bald patch in the same place but looks like it’s bleeding slightly. Tried to upload a pic but can’t atm

  10. August 30, 2017

    It is a White Tiger Moth.
    :- )
    Kingdom: Animalia
    Phylum: Euarthropoda
    Class: Insecta
    Order: Lepidoptera
    Superfamily: Noctuoidea
    Family: Erebidae
    Genus: Spilosoma
    Species: S. congrua
    Binomial name
    “Spilosoma congrua”

  11. Kyleigh Hope permalink
    June 15, 2018

    looks like a miller moth honestly

  12. June 26, 2018

    does not look like a White Tiger Moth at all.

  13. Richard permalink
    June 29, 2019

    I took a photo of a very similar-looking moth, nondescript grey-brown except for a conspicuous amber bare patch, at my home in Oxfordshire, England on 17 August 2018. I came across your site while looking for an ID online. I can’t find anything similar in the Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland. As you suggest, the bare patch is probably due to ageing and/or wear and tear.

  14. Marksus permalink
    September 17, 2021

    I’ve got one of these as well, though I don’t know how to take care of it.

  15. September 19, 2021

    Marksus: Moth, or bald spot?

  16. Tara Ann Petersen permalink
    November 22, 2021

    it’s your basic brown house moth. I have no clue about the bald spot. I have seen a few of mine have them. we have slight infestation of them right now. They are very annoying since I think they hid pretty good and will eat anything for food source which makes them a tiny bit more harder to kill. I’ve been trying to search what the bald spot means with no luck.

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