Northern Pine Looper, and Little Virgin Tiger Moth

2017 January 18

Here are two moths from June, 2016. The first one is a new species for this site, that was at our porch light on June 25.


When I was taking the pictures, I thought it was going to be a repeat (specifically, I thought it was a Hickory Tussock Moth like the one I photographed back in 2007), but while the color was close, the pattern was wrong. And on closer examination of the head/thorax, it didn’t really look furry enough on the shoulders to be a tiger moth.


So, I think I’ve found the actual match, which is something else entirely. It looks like a Northern Pine Looper, Caripeta miniata, which is one of the geometrids and not a tiger moth at all. Their caterpillars are stick-mimic inchworms that eat pine needles, and they apparently never get numerous enough to be a forestry pest because that is about all the information I’ve been able to find about them[1] – if they typically defoliated trees, the USDA would doubtless have pages and pages of information on the damage they caused and how to eradicate them.

I’ve also got this other moth from a few days later (June 30, 2016), which is a repeat and therefore probably doesn’t warrant its own new entry: the Little Virgin Tiger Moth, Grammia virguncula.


While it is a very pretty moth, I mainly wanted to get this next picture, showing the orange abdomen with a black stripe running down the middle, and the orange hindwings with black spots. Before I just suspected that we were finding this particular species, but now I am sure.


[1] Although, when I searched for the species name Caripeta piniata, I did find out that Disney sells a line of pinatas in Germany(I think) under the brand name Carpeta, which is close enough that Google thought that “carpeta pinatas” must have been what I was looking for.

One Response
  1. January 18, 2017

    That little virgin tiger moth is gorgeous!

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