White Admiral, and a beat-up Crocus Geometer

2015 September 9

The only really connection between these two insects is that Sam caught both of them on the same day, on June 29, 2015[1]. The first one is a White Admiral, Limentis arthemis. It is in somewhat better shape than the rather beat-up ones I posted earlier. Unfortunately, it was back-lit too much and it is hard to see the coloration on the upper surface of the wings, although the white stripe is clearly visible.

Sam was holding it for this next picture so that we could see the wing undersides. I don’t know what the sticker on her thumbnail was for.

White admirals evidently overwinter as caterpillars, and then eat a bit of young foliage on their food plants (any of a wide variety of broadleaved trees and shrubs, like birch, aspen, hawthorn, basswood, and oak)in the spring before pupating. The caterpillars are disguised as bird droppings.

The second insect we have today was really beat up, and at first we weren’t sure whether it was a butterfly or a moth.

This next picture doesn’t show the color as well, but the outlines are better defined

Even as tattered as it is, the pattern on the wings is still distinct enough that I think we can ID this as a Crocus Geometer, Xanthotype sospeta. These are pretty good-sized moths, and are quite pretty when they aren’t all torn to ribbons. They have thin, mostly-green, inchworm-type caterpillars with a white “racing stripe” down their sides. They evidently eat all kinds of plants that aren’t actively toxic, ranging from trees and shrubs down to general forbs (flowering plants that aren’t grass). Checking my caterpillar pictures, I don’t think I’ve found one of these as a caterpillar yet. Although, given that the moth came out in the spring, it is good odds that they overwinter as pupae, and so the best time to look for the caterpillars would be late summer or early fall. Right about now, in other words.

[1] The same day that she caught this Fritillary, in fact.

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