Strange Moth Resembles Bird Dropping

 

 

Here is an interesting moth I found in my yard- a beautiful wood nymph Eudryas grata, a noctuid. This species occurs from Nova Scotia to FL.

The peculiar colors are believed to mimic bird droppings and thus escape the detection of bird predators. It is also good disruption camouflage.

But the orange flash colors displayed when the moth is disturbed may either advertise toxicity or mimic the similar warning colors of some tiger moths, such as the salt marsh moth.

Bill Dunson

About Bill Dunson

Bill Dunson, born in rural Georgia, skipped 12th grade and went directly to Yale. Bill subsequent-ly received a PhD in Zoology from the University of Michigan, studying softshell turtles. Bill is Professor Emeritus of Pennsylvania State University thanks to a career spent entirely at that institution, teaching and doing research on the physio-logical ecology and ecotoxiciology of reptiles, amphibians and fish. Always curious about nature, Bill has dedicated his life to learning and sharing his knowledge with others. He has served on many advisory boards here in Southwest Florida to preserve the water that gives life to our region.

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