Dark Brown Geometrid Moth

2016 November 23

This dark brown moth came to our porch light on July 4, 2016.


That pose, with the wings spread out flat and the forewings not overlapping much with the hindwings, is one of the common poses of geometrid moths. So, I searched for moths on Bugguide that had that pose until I found one with those same thin, wavy lines running across them, and the scalloped wing margins. The best match I could find was Johnson’s Euchlaena, Euchlaena johnsonaria[1]. These moths are pretty variable in color, but they do have this exact pattern, and sometimes look exactly like mine, here.

Unlike a lot of other moths, this one has wings that aren’t flat, but curve up in the front. I don’t know if this is a useful ID feature, because hardly anybody photographs moths from this angle and so I can’t check it against any other pictures.


I can think of several possible effects the curved wings might have, but I don’t have any way of checking whether it mainly effects aerodynamics, camouflage, capture of scents for the antennae, or something else. The wing curvature does expose the face and antennae so we can see them a lot better than for a lot of other moths. The antennae are sufficiently feathery that I expect that this is a male.


Anyway, these moths generally come out in June or July. Their caterpillars are inchworm types, that feed on lots of different kinds of trees like birch, willow, dogwood, blueberries, and the like.

[1] I don’t know who Johnson was, or why they got this moth named after them, but there it is.

3 Responses
  1. November 24, 2016

    Off topic: Dude.

  2. November 25, 2016


    “So, it’s never been seen before? Must be pretty rare, right?”

    “No, its camouflage is just that good!”

  3. November 25, 2016

    Yeah, I saw that, too. That thing gets an A+ for camouflage.

    By the way, I saw it as an embed on a tweet that said, “I will not sleep until we have started an Apollo-sized program to exterminate every one of these things.” I thought that was pretty funny.

    Did you watch the video of the spider getting hit with a broom and exploding into a zillion tiny spiders? Horrible! Run away!

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