For National Moth Week we have a moth with an awesome name: The Tufted Bird Dropping Moth, Cerma cerintha. It is a type of noctuid or owlet moth.
Moths are often all about camouflage and this one can do double duty.
For example if it was perched on tree bark covered with lichen and moss, it might blend right in.
On a leaf it might look like a bird dropping, as the common name suggests.
BugGuide has some photographs of the caterpillars. They feed on plants in the rose family, including pears, apples, cherries, and hawthorns.
The tufted part of the name comes from the tufts of scales on the back of the thorax and wings. The tufts aren't easy to see from a back view. Try this side view.
The tufted bird dropping moth is found in the eastern half of North America where its food plants grow. It's common, but not much is known about its biology.
Isn't it cool? Are we beginning to convince you that moths are just as interesting as butterflies?
This year tiger moths are the featured insects for National Moth Week in 2017.
Tiger and Tussock moths - Family Erebidae
The tiger moths and tussock are a diverse group and they names are in flux. In the past, the tiger moths belonged to a separate family, the Arctiidae. Now they are grouped with the Tussock moths in the family Erebidae.
The most consistent characteristic of this family is that they hold their hairy front legs outstretched when they are at rest.
Many of the subfamilies have striped or spotted wings.
The caterpillars are hairy or fuzzy.
The banded woolly bear is a tiger moth caterpillar.
This is a hickory tussock moth. See its outstretched front legs?
Tussock moth caterpillars are also hairy.
- Add your tiger moth photographs to the Project Noah moth mission page and check out what others have found.
- Learn about the Cinnabar Moth (a type of tiger moth) at the National Moth Week blog.
- Download the moth coloring book (link on the Kids Page) and color the tiger moth on page 3.
National Moth Week starts today, July 22, and runs through 30, 2017. It is a great opportunity to investigate moths, as well as to begin to appreciate their unique strengths and beauty.
Looking for ideas for information and activity ideas to celebrate moths? Check out the older posts linked below and also look for new posts about suggested activities with moths coming up throughout the week.
Older Moth Posts
Posts from this week:
If you ever want to learn more about moths, check out the moths category in the sidebar.
Or visit our growing list of children's books about moths and butterflies at Science Books for Kids.