Four-Lined Wave

2013 February 16

So, on May 26, 2012, I got out our extension-cord “trouble light”, put in a daylight-spectrum fluorescent light, and set it up to shine on the broad, flat surface of the west side of our barn all night. May is a very mothy time of year for us, and we got a lot of moths, and in the next few weeks I’m going to be going through them in more or less the order I photographed them. Starting with this one:

Going through the Peterson Field Guide to Moths narrowed this down to being one of the “Waves”. At first I thought it was the Simple Wave[1], Scopula junctaria. But, checking it out on BugGuide, it looks to me like a better match is the closely-related Four-Lined Wave, Scopula quadrilineata. These are extremely similar, but the brown lines across the forewings of the Four-Lined Wave are straighter.

It looks to be hiding its antennae under its forewings.

If we look closer at the antennae, we can see why it might want to cover them. They are large, feathery, and look fragile.

With antennae this feathery, it almost has to be a male. I expect that during the night, when he is actively searching for females, he probably pulls them out and waves them around (although he may only do this while flying)

The four-lined wave is evidently a northern species, mostly found in eastern Canada and the northeastern US. The caterpillars probably eat clover, elm, and chickweed, like the caterpillars of the Simple Wave.

[1] “Simple Wave” sounds more like a hairstyling term than the name of a moth.

2 Responses
  1. February 18, 2013


  2. Merle permalink
    March 12, 2013

    Sounds more like a musical movement to me.

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