Chickweed Moth

I’m interrupting this barrage of Arizona oak galls to bring you a moth from my front yard. Julia spotted it this morning as it dove into the lawn just a few feet from our front door.

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It’s pretty tattered, but a mighty fine-looking moth just the same. I spent several minutes flipping through all the Pyrausta species (Crambidae), some of which have a similar color scheme, until I took a closer look and realized I had the wrong family. Then all it took was a quick search for “pink and yellow geometrid” to find a match: Haematopis grataria (Geometridae), the “chickweed geometer.”  It was in fact resting in a patch of chickweed, more specifically Stellaria graminea or lesser stitchwort, though apparently the caterpillars are not specific to chickweeds and will also eat other herbaceous plants such as clovers and smartweeds.

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About Charley Eiseman

I am a freelance naturalist, endlessly fascinated by the interconnections of all the living and nonliving things around me. I am the lead author of Tracks & Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates (Stackpole Books, 2010), and continue to collect photographs and information on this subject. These days I am especially drawn to galls, leaf mines, and other plant-insect interactions.
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5 Responses to Chickweed Moth

  1. Sara Rall says:

    So what did you see when you took the closer look, i.e., how did you tell it was a geometer not a crambid? the palps? Sometimes I still struggle to put moths into families.

  2. Very beautiful indeed, and great photos! Thank you for sharing !!

  3. J. W. Eiseman says:

    I enjoy your opening line/ It looks like someone arrived on the scene with pastel paints.

  4. Pingback: Mullein Weevils | BugTracks

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