Identification Challenge #7 Reveal

January 8th, 2011 - 1:31 PM | Filed under Identification Challenges | 2 Comments

All commenters correctly determined that this was a moth:

January 26, 2010 | Caraça Natural Park, Minas Gerais, Brazil

At the time I took the picture, I assumed this was a butterfly. It acted like a butterfly, being active during the day and the way it held its wings (not folded over the back like many moths).

It was only when reviewing the photo later that I noticed it looked a bit odd for a butterfly. Like many commenters, I noted the lack of clubbed antennae. I didn’t try to identify it, but I remembered it when I read an interesting short article in a recent issue of Natural History magazine. The article was all about day flying moths in the subfamily Dioptinae (family Notodontidae). I emailed the author, James S. Miller, asking if he thought this might be one. Here’s his response:

That moth is either a Geometrid in the subfamily Sterrhinae, or a Noctuid
in the subfamily Agaristinae. I wouldn’t be able to tell without looking
at its wing venations and tympanum. Sadly, not a dioptine. It looks
exactly like several species in the dioptine genus Erbessa however, so you
were not far off. Mimicry in these taxa is phenomenal.

Thanks to Mr. Miller for responding.

Subjects: Butterflies and Moths, Insects, and Moths.
Places: Brazil, Caraça Natural Park, Minas Gerais, and South America.
Adaptations: Mimicry.
Life Stages: Adult.
Taxa: Class Insecta and Order Lepidoptera.
Colors: Black and Yellow.

2 Responses to “Identification Challenge #7 Reveal”

  1. If it is a sterrhine geometrid, then it must be near Astryria velata. I couldn’t find any agaristines that looked anywhere near this close.

  2. Troy Bartlett says:

    Cool, thanks Ted!

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