Another Lep in the Living Room

It probably won’t surprise anyone who reads this blog when I say that any bug that shows up in my house becomes a potential photo subject (not just big, flashy, unseasonable butterflies). So last week when a little (~7 mm), nondescript, brown moth was spotted on the living room floor, it got the same treatment as last month’s tiger swallowtail.


By its general shape and pattern, I recognized it as a tortricid moth in the subfamily Olethreutinae, but I didn’t have a clue what it was beyond that. I’ve always been a fan of tortricids’ faces—they often have distinctive “hairstyles”…


…and many have interestingly patterned green eyes, as this one did. In these photos you can see one of the simple eyes  (ocelli) directly above the compound eye. I don’t remember ever noticing ocelli on a moth before.


Unfortunately, after I let it out the front door, I learned from Ken Childs that it was Grapholita molesta, the Oriental fruit moth. Larvae of this introduced species bore in shoots and fruits of apple, peach, plum, pear, and cherry, all of which are available to it in our yard (more shoots than fruits, so far). Had I known, I would have offered it to the chickens instead.

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 Another Lep in the Living Room

  1. Charlie, As always I so deeply appreciate your photography, and the way you help me to see the distinct uniqueness and personality of each species. I notice another shiny dark round thing to the right of the eye, on what appears to be its shoulder, very similar to the one above its compound eye. Do you think these are both simple eyes, or something else entirely?

  2. Jennifer says:

    Of course you guys have chickens! Us too and boy, they make us laugh. Your pictures of this moth face are INCREDIBLE. Wow.

  3. Moore says:

    That second eye is pretty darn interesting!!

  4. stephe59 says:

    Great photos, Charley. Thanks for giving us a closer look into the eyes of your fruit boring moth.

    \\*//|\\*//|\\*//|\\*//|\\*//|\\*//|\ Stephanie L. Eastwood Woodford, WI, U.S.A. h (608) 465-3470 c (608) 293-2122 \\*//|\\*//|\\*//|\\*//|\\*//|\\*//|\

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