Probably a Pyralid Moth

2015 April 22

There were a lot of little moths at the porch light on August 10, 2014. This sooty-gray one was something under a centimeter long (but was still bigger than some of the others).

I originally thought it was possibly a Twirler Moth[1], family Gelechiidae (a large family of mostly very tiny moths). This was based on the fact that several of the charcoal-gray species in the genus Anacampsis had a pretty close color resemblance. But, then entomologist Chris Grinter left a comment on this page that he thought it looked more like something in the family Pyralidae, subfamily Phycitinae. So, I reconsidered.

Looking more closely at the shape of the mouthparts and the shape of the head and neck, I see now that the twirler moths are not a good match after all, and the Phycitinae do look pretty plausible. Of course, I’m not finding any perfect matches right away, and there are a lot of candidates to wade through.

Anyway, these moths tend to have leaf-roller caterpillars, and depending on which species this is they could be feeding on almost anything.

[1] I don’t know why they are called “twirler” moths. So far, I haven’t seen any explanation of the name. It is possible that this is one of those common names whose origin is forever lost in the mists of time.

2 Responses
  1. April 22, 2015

    Looks to be a Pyralidae, subfamily Phycitinae.

  2. April 23, 2015

    Thanks, Chris! I’ve modified the post based on your comment.

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