Clover/Forage Looper

2015 May 16

And here’s the last moth from the August 10, 2014 porch-lighting.

I had a lot of trouble identifying this one. The banding on the wings angles in the opposite direction from most moths. The banding makes a sort of “V” pointing backwards, where most moths either have the banding run straight across, or make a “V” pointing forwards. Ultimately I had to post it on BugGuide, where I was first pointed to the Forage Looper, Caenurgina erechtea. But, on closer examination, I think it could just as easily be the closely-related Clover Looper, Caenurgina crassiuscula.

In either case, their caterpillars eat the sort of things that are normally planted in hay fields – clover, grass, alfalfa, and similar plants. These moths are evidently quite common.

This particular specimen seems to be on the small end of the size range for these moths. The body length given on BugGuide is 14-23 mm, and this one looks like its body is more like 12 mm. It also says the males are smaller than the females, so this one is most likely a male.

They evidently hang around for quite a long time as adults. Here’s one from another porch-lighting session almost an entire month later (September 7, 2014). This time, it was surrounded by numerous little micromoths.

I think the tiny moths are most likely the Aspen Leaf Blotch Miner Moths that I’ve photographed before, and that we have around here in great quantities.

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