Light Brown Moths with Wavy Lines on Wings – Smoked Sallows

2014 October 11

Several of these medium-sized moths came to our porch light on September 8, 2013. They ranged from light brown to almost orange, and had a consistent pattern of wavy lines and spots on their wings. They were somewhat variable in the degree of shading, though, like this pair where one was light brown while the other was verging on orange.

And this next one is intermediate in shading, and had a much darker band running across between the oval spots on the wings

I thought these looked familiar, and indeed it turns out that I have posted them before, about two years ago.. They are probably Smoked Sallows, Enargia infumata. Although, the Pale Enargia (Enargia decolor) looks pretty similar and also lives around here[1]. Here’s another one, looking us in the eye:

These are clearly extremely common fall-flying moths around here, probably because their preferred foodplants (birch and aspen) are also extremely common both in the Upper Peninsula in general, and on our property in particular.

[1] There is also the very similar Enargia fausta, and a synonym for the Smoked Sallow is Enargia mephisto. Whoever named them evidently had a certain deal-with-the-devil story in mind at the time. Maybe they were thinking along those lines because they were near a light at night, and some of these moths came swooping around their head like lost souls or little demons, and startled the bejabbers out of them. Presumably, the goal of these moths is not to tempt us into eternal damnation (I think they are more into eating a bunch of leaves and laying a few thousand eggs), but I supposed You Never Know.

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