Bug of the Week: Tufted Bird Dropping Moth

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?


  1. tyko berglund

    I really enjoyed learning about the Tufted Bird Dropping Moth and found that is beautiful as well.

  2. Roberta

    Good to hear.

  3. Mary

    I am the editor of a newsletter for my HOA and I write feature articles for it – all nature-related. I had a few unique moths in my iphone (rosy maple moth and the 8-spotted forester moth) so I decided to write an article on moths. I’m hooked! Its now the longest article to date. I have a Blinded Sphinx Moth, Hummingbird Clearwing Moth, and several others featured. The best part is ALL photos were taken in my tiny cabin community – by design. I just found a Walnut caterpillar Moth yesterday – it resembles a curled leaf – perfect segue from your article on camouflage!

  4. Roberta

    It’s great that you are sharing information about moths. They are so fascinating.

  5. Vennin

    I found this moth in my house today and have made a habit so I can study and observe him. His name is Oreo because he is mostly black and white.

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