Snowy-Shouldered Acleris (A Bird-Dropping Mimic)

2015 May 30

This little black-and-white moth came to our porch light on September 7, 2014.

It stayed still as long as I photographed it from the back, but as soon as I started taking pictures from the side, the flash scared it and it started running. This is one of the few pictures that didn’t just show its rear wings as it rapidly ran out of the frame of the picture.

The coloration to resemble a bird dropping, along with the little tufts of scales sticking up all over the wings, pretty clearly mark it as a Snowy-Shouldered Acleris, Acleris nivisellana.

These are pretty common moths in southern Canada and the northern US, and the caterpillars eat leaves from apples, hawthorns, pin cherries, and other related plants. The caterpillars make a little silk shelter on the underside of the rib running up the center of the leaf, and then skeletonize the leaf, often damaging the midrib so that the leaf looks twisted in a characteristic way. These are small moths, and the caterpillars probably only attack one or two leaves each, so it would take a lot of them to really damage the tree.

2 Responses
  1. May 31, 2015

    I don’t care how many laughs it gets me, I never want to be known as a bird-dropping mimic.

  2. June 2, 2015

    But if you actually wanted to be a famous comedian, it certainly would be a unique act!

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