Tag Archives: National Moth Week

Let's take a look at a few moths in celebration of National Moth Week.

hummingbird-hawk-moth-flying(Photo via Visual Hunt)

Although moths are usually creatures of the night, it isn't unusual to see sphinx or hawk moths (Family Sphingidae) flying around flowers during the day. Some of the larger ones resemble hummingbirds in flight, hence their other common name "hummingbird moth."

moth-cerura-vinula(Photo via Visual Hunt)

How do you tell if the insect you are seeing is a butterfly or moth? The hairy body and feathery antennae are good clues.



See our list of children's books about moths and butterflies at Science Books for Kids.

Do you have any new suggestions for our list? Have you seen any interesting moths for moth week?



Was it a twig or insect sitting on a black raspberry plant in our last Bug of the Week post?


It was hard to tell, but this is a photograph of a looper or inchworm caterpillar (family Geometridae). In fact, because so many caterpillars in this family resemble twigs they are commonly called "stick caterpillars."


When I approached, the caterpillar was moving in the typical looping fashion across the plant. I startled it when I stopped to take its photograph, and the caterpillar rose up and straightened. It held this position for as long as I watched it, which was several minutes.

If I hadn't seen the caterpillar moving prior to taking this stance, I probably wouldn't have even noticed it.

This caterpillar will eventually turn into a moth, making it an appropriate way to announce:

National Moth Week is coming up in the end of next month, July 23-31, 2016.

See if there are any National Moth Week events in your country or state.


Ready for National Moth Week next week? Visit the kids' page at the website for a free coloring book to download and cool games to play.

Last week we discussed the identification of moths, part I. Now let's follow up with a few more common families of moths.

5. Family Geometridae - The geometrids or inchworm moths

Moths in the family Geometridae rest with their wings laid out flat, with both fore- and under-wings exposed. The wings are often "scalloped" or have a characteristic curved shape. These moths usually have wavy stripes on their wings that resemble tree bark or other plant material.

geometrid-moth-exampleTypical geometrid moth at rest

Synchlora_aerata(Public domain photograph of wavy-lined emerald moth, Synchlora aerata, from Wikimedia)

Not all gemetrids are brown. Some are green, yellow or white.

6. Family Noctuidae - the noctuids or owlet moths

The family Noctuidae contains a huge number of species and recently scientists have been splitting off some species into new families. The Moth Photographers Group has a page with some 390 different species of noctuids to give you a feel for the diversity of the group.

In general, noctuids are medium-sized to small moths. At rest, they fold their wings back, with the fore-wings covering the hind-wings and abdomen.

noctuid-moth-60This is a typical pose for a noctuid moth.

cabbage-looper-mothCertain noctuids, like this cabbage looper moth, have a great deal of hair-like scales on their thorax, sometimes forming tufts.

7. Family Notodontidae - the prominents

Members of this family can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from the noctuids. They are about the same size and also fold their wings back. One characteristic that can help separate the two is prominents sometimes hold their hairy legs out in front of themselves at rest.

pebble-prominent-moth(Photograph by Alvesgaspar under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license at Wikimedia)

8. Micromoths - Crambidae and Pyralidae

Micromoths are a diverse group of tiny moths comprising many families. Two families, the Crambidae and Pyralidae, can be easier to identify than some of the others because the moths have a distinctly triangular shape when at rest.

yellow-bells-mothAlthough the sphinx moths can also have a triangular shape, these moths are much smaller.

Indianmeal_moth_public-domain(Public domain photograph of Indian meal moth from Wikimedia)

Some of the members of the family, however, roll their wings under while at rest.

Interested in learning more about identifying moths? Try:

Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern North America (Peterson Field Guides) by David Beadle and Seabrooke Leckie

(Affiliate link to Amazon)

Related posts:

Be sure to visit our growing list of children's books about moths and butterflies at Science Books for Kids


Do you have a favorite resource for learning more about moths? We'd love to hear about it.