Sunday, August 11, 2013

Police Car Moths on Turkey Flats Trail


Today my friend Scott and I went for a nature hike on Turkey Flats Trail, near Glade Park, Colorado. We discovered a "new-to-us" moth, which turns out to be a Police Car Moth (Gnophaelia vermiculata). At first I wasn't sure that this was a moth and not a butterfly. It has a relatively delicate build, apparent during its clumsy flight, and looks more like a butterfly while flying. Upon landing, however, its resting delta wing pattern and characteristic moth-like antennae give it away. This moth features bold black and white coloring, along with bright orange coloration of the frontal thorax region, which could be reminiscent of two police car siren lights when viewing this moth head on.

Police Car Moth

Short video of a police car moth.

Can you find all three?

A female is on the left, a male to her right.
You can tell by looking at their antennae.
The male's antennae are more feathery and broad.

Police Car Moth - showing bright orange frontal thorax region.

Head on view showing the thorax "lights" of the police car moth.