Hawaii is homes to hundreds of species of animals, plants, and insects – including moths.
Have you ever wondered what types of moths in Hawaii also live in the tropical island paradise?
Moths are a diverse group of insects that share many characteristics with their cousin, the butterfly.
Not only are they prolific around the world, but they are one of the most common types of moths in Hawaii.
From brightly-colored crepuscular moths to huge hawk moths that can often be seen hovering near flowers at dusk, Hawaiis’ plethora of moth species possesses fascinating colors and patterns, making them a delight for nature enthusiasts and entomologists alike.
Our article will examine some of Hawaii’s most common types of moths and their unique features.
1. Yellow -Necked Caterpillar Moth
The Yellow-necked Caterpillar Moth (Datana ministra) is first on our list of types of moths in Hawaii.
It is a medium to large moth with bright yellow or orange wings and sports dark brown or gray stripes on its body. The caterpillars are green or gray, with black tufts of hair at their sides.
These types of moths in Hawaii feed on the leaves of various trees and shrubs, including Acacia, Eucalyptus, Oleander, Wisteria, Citrus, and others.
They may also be found feeding on a wide variety of Herbs, such as Cilantro and Basil.
The adult females lay eggs in rows, usually located on the undersides of leaves.
After six weeks, the larvae hatch and feed directly on the flower buds during springtime before moving onto foliage during summer.
As they feed, they will damage leaf skeletonization by consuming the epidermal layers of leaves by leaving “windows” in the foliage.
They can consume entire buds if they feed during the late stage of flower bud formation.
If too many larvae are present, major defoliation may occur, weakening plants due to reduced photosynthesis activity.
To manage Yellow-necked Caterpillar Moths, it may be necessary to use insecticides specifically targeting Lepidoptera species or other pest control measures such as agricultural practices that prevent overwintering or plowing early as possible after flowering so adult moths are no longer able to find food sources for laying eggs upon.
2. Yellow -Striped Armyworm Moth
The Yellow-striped Armyworm Moth, scientific name Spodoptera ornithogalli, is a moth commonly found in the Hawaiian Islands.
This nocturnal species has a wingspan of 0.52-0.79 inches (1.3-2 cm), with yellow and grey stripes along the top surface of its forewings, which it uses to aid in camouflage against tree bark.
The underside of its wings is predominantly a matt yellow color but can also feature black or brown speckles and spots depending on age and location.
The larvae of this species feed predominantly on flowers, leaves, grasses, and other vegetation, making them familiar pests to lush tropical islands like Hawaii.
Female types of moths in Hawaii lay their eggs near these areas as after hatching, the larvae have immediate access to food sources that they need for successful development into adult moths.
They have voracious appetites compared to other caterpillars and can rapidly decimate large amounts of foliage within a few hours if not controlled or monitored properly.
When attempting to control populations, several options are available, including the physical removal of larvae or using agricultural pesticides as methods of preventing further damage caused by them during their larval stage.
3. Oleander Hawk Moth
The Oleander Hawk Moth (Daphnis nerii) is commonly found in Hawaii.
These types of moths in Hawaii are characterized by their large, striking wingspan of up to 3 inches and their bright yellow to rusty brown coloration.
They are also noted for their long snouts, which help them feed on the flowers of oleander plants, from which they get their name.
Oleander hawk moths possess two pairs of wings that contain thousands of tiny scales and stiff bristles composed of chitin that allow them to fly quickly and maneuver around obstacles.
Their brilliant green-colored body marks their larval stage with spots or stripes along their sides and horns near the head that serve as a defense against predators.
Oleander hawk moths are important in ecosystem health because they are pollinators and predators.
As pollinators, they transfer pollen between flowers, helping them grow healthy fruits, vegetables, and other plants; this makes them beneficial for local food production systems in Hawaii.
As oligophagous predators, they feed on members of plant families such as Apocynaceae and Asclepiadaceae families containing many herbaceous perennials, which helps keep populations in check by predating upon immature specimens before they can become adult pests themselves.
Additionally, because these types of moths in Hawaii overwinter in warm tropical climates such as those found in Hawaii, they act as food sources for the numerous species of migratory birds that winter in the islands each year.
4. Modest Sphinx Moth
The Modest Sphinx Moth, also known as Pachysphinx Modesta, is a species of sphinx moth native to Hawaii.
Its wings are solid dark brown with an orange border at the tips and four white stripes radiating from its head.
Adults usually have a wingspan of up to 3 ½ inches, and their bodies are covered with white hairs.
These moths in Hawaii feed on the nectar of night-blooming flowers such as jasmine and oleander, using their long proboscis to reach deep inside the blooms.
They also enjoy sipping juice from overripe fruit which has been sitting in the sun for too long.
In Hawaiian mythology, the Modest Sphinx Moth is associated with the god Tanmurtheru, who used its long proboscis to pollinate various plants.
In some cultures, it was believed that when a prayer was written on the wings of one of these moths, it could be carried to heaven by the winds and answered by their gods.
The adults themselves rarely live for more than a few days. Still, during that time, they were important in pollinating several native Hawaiian flower species like Hibiscus brackenridgei and Thunbergia Grandiflora.
The larvae of these moths in Hawaii can cause serious damage to crops such as tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, eggplants, and peppers, so they must be monitored closely if found near agricultural fields.
5. Friendly Probole Moth
This is the next on our list of types of moths in Hawaii. The Friendly Probole Moth (Probole amicaria) is a moth discovered in 1992 in the Hawaiian Islands.
Notably, it has white forewings with a yellow spot at the tip. The rear wings are transparent and have black spots, while the antennae are curved and strongly protrude from the head.
Females types of moths in Hawaii may reach up to 3 cm in length, while males are typically smaller.
A key characteristic of this species is its “friendly” behavior, as they don’t fly away or disappear when approached or disturbed, thus earning it its common name and a unique trait amongst most moths.
They prefer habitats with open vegetation, such as road edges, grassy fields, and light woodland areas around Hawaii, where their larvae feed on leaves of native plant species such as yellow hibiscus and mountain apple tree leaves.
These types of moths in Hawaii can be found throughout the year but more commonly during April through October months in Hawaii where they breed more hastily compared to any other parts of the globe.
6. European Corn Borer Moth
The European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis) is a moth found in Hawaii. It is found primarily on corn and grasses but can occasionally feed on other crops.
The adult types of moths in Hawaii lay their eggs from May to August on plants like sweetcorn, maize, sorghum, and wild cereal crops throughout Hawaii.
These eggs hatch into small larvae that feed on these plants until they reach maturity, burying themselves below ground while doing so.
At this stage, they enter a pupal stage and can emerge up to two months later as an adult moth.
During their larval period, the caterpillar conducts mining operations through the plants it feeds on and can cause severe damage to farms or home gardens if not properly managed.
The combination of their wide range of host crop options, high reproductive rate, and long lifespan make them difficult to control organically.
Controlling this pest requires proper monitoring of the site and implementing strategies such as cultural control such as crop rotation, and timely pesticide application when needed.
7. Lunate Zale Moth
The Lunate Zale Moth (Zale lunata) is next on our list of types of moths in Hawaii. They have brown and yellow wings, with white spots on their forewings that resemble eyes.
Their larvae feed on native Hawaiian clovers, such as Lepidium Oxypetalum and Zea mays, and introduced plants from Australia and Europe.
The adult types of moths in Hawaii are most active at night while they search for food or mates.
Like other moths, the lunate zale is attracted to light, so seeing them around lights in gardens or residential areas at night is common.
In Hawaii, the Lunate Zale Moth plays an important role in the ecosystem by pollinating many native plant species.
They are also used by native birds such as the Hawaiian Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus) to locate food sources.
The larvae of Lunate Zales also provide food sources for birds, reptiles, and amphibians in Hawaii’s natural ecosystems.
Unfortunately, these types of moths in Hawaii face habitat loss due to urbanization and deforestation, which threatens their future survival in Hawaii.
For this reason, we need to protect these habitats to preserve this unique moth for future generations to enjoy.
8. Dingy Cutworm Moth
This is the next on our list of types of moths in Hawaii. The Dingy Cutworm Moth (Felita jaculifera) is commonly found in Hawaii.
It is characterized by its dark brown color and has distinctive markings along its wings, which are fringed with white. It measures 1 – 1.5 inches long, and its wingspan can be up to 2 inches wide.
The Dingy Cutworm Moth resides in dry shrubland across the islands and prefers cooler areas.
However, it can also inhabit tropical climates. The moth is most active at dusk and often ‘flies low’ over the ground, thus earning it the nickname “ground skipper.”
The Dingy Cutworm Moth tends to feed on flower nectar, aphids, and other crop pests, making them useful friends for farmers, who have come to depend on this moth species to help keep their fields free from insect pests.
Additionally, their larvae can play important roles in Hawaiian ecosystems by providing food for many birds, such as chaparral thrush and American robin.
9. Little White Lichen Moth
The Little White Lichen Moth (Clemensia albata) is a moth native to Hawaii.
These types of moths in Hawaii spread across the Hawaiian Islands, as they are well-suited to the tropical climate and exclusive animal species found on these islands.
The Little White Lichen Moth stands out from other Hawaiian moths with its bright white coloring and small size relative to other local moth species.
Additionally, these types of moths in Hawaii have several distinctive reddish-brown markings near their wings, giving them an even more striking appearance.
The Little White Lichen Moth primarily feeds off lichen and other small plant matter throughout its life cycle, allowing it to provide food for local animals such as birds that forage for insects in Hawaii’s dense vegetation.
As a result, this moth can play an important role in helping maintain a balance in the environment by providing both sustenance and nutrients for predatory birds while also serving as prey itself when necessary.
Additionally, these types of moths in Hawaii do not show any particular preference between specific varieties of lichen or plants when feeding, so they can be present in large numbers without disrupting existing ecosystems.
10. Cross-Striped Cabbageworm Moth
The Cross-striped Cabbageworm Moth (Evergestis rimosalis) is a moth in Hawaii.
These attractive types of moths in Hawaii have a wingspan of 1.5 inches and are buff yellow or pale brown with three faint dark stripes across each forewing.
The hindwings are pale gray, with white fringes near the edges.
They autonomously fly day and night, hovering over vegetation to feed on pollen and nectar from flowers like Hibiscus and Yellow Ginger and Brassica crops such as cabbage and kale.
The larvae feed primarily on brassica crops such as cabbage, kale, broccoli, and cauliflower, causing significant economic losses to farmers by consuming large amounts of these plants.
This species has a long lifespan, living through drought periods and areas perturbed by human activity.
Due to its wide distribution range across the island chain and adaptability to adverse conditions, this species is considered an important pest in the Hawaiian Islands today.
11. Hydriomena Spp
Hydriomena spp. is the scientific designation for a type of moth found in Hawaii.
They have striking colors and patterns, ranging from bright yellow to milky white, with beautiful grayish-gray markings and pale orange scales on the wings.
They grow to an average length of 1¼–1½ inches (3–4 cm). These types of moths in Hawaii prefer high altitudes and are often seen in forests or misty areas on Hawaii’s higher slopes.
These types of moths in Hawaii rely on nectar from flowers as nourishment.
They are particularly active during the day when their bright colors help attract attention from potential pollinators such as birds or bees.
During night hours, Hydriomena spp. They will often seek shelter among tree bark or foliage, resting until sunset when they become more active again to forage for food until morning hours arrive again.
The larvae of these moths feed on tender leaves from shrubs and trees; some species specialize in feeding on certain plants like ferns, while others may feed on a larger variety of vegetation within their ecosystem.
Once they find suitable food sources, they quickly mature into adults within one month before the mating cycle begins again and another generation of Hydriomena spp. are born.
12. Ipsilon Dart Moth
The Ipsilon Dart Moth (Agrotis ipsilon) is a moth species in Hawaii. This type of moth is highly adaptable and can be seen throughout the entire year on the islands.
The types of moths in Hawaii have a wingspan of about two inches, with forewings that are yellow to orange-brown and hind wings that are darker brown.
The Ipsilon Dart Moth has well-developed antennae, which helps them detect potential prey from a distance.
They also have well-developed eyes, helping them to identify objects and prey even in poorly lit areas at night.
The Ipsilon Dart Moth feeds mainly on leaves, but they may also feed on flowers and other plant matter depending on the availability in an area.
They primarily come out between dusk and dawn during nighttime, when most visible insects are retreating or not active yet.
During the day, some may be found resting on surfaces such as leaves or tree trunks in shaded areas.
As Nocturnal predators, they are important to Hawaii ecosystems because they help control populations of potentially damaging insects like caterpillars by hunting them for food.
Good pollinators help spread pollen grains across plants, assisting with successful crop production.
13. Hummingbird Moth
The Hummingbird Moth (Hemaris sp.) is a small, brightly-colored moth species in Hawaii.
These moths of the type Bombyliidae are known for their remarkable resemblance to hummingbirds. They are relatively small, with an average of 16-25 mm wingspan.
The colors of these delightful types of moths in Hawaii vary greatly between individuals.
Still, common colors include shades of black and brown and iridescent blue and green hues along their wings and abdomens; just as with the other members of its family, the Hummingbird Moth feeds on nectar from plants by visiting flowers such as hibiscus or lilac.
During active flight periods, they may use unique hovering behaviors similar to those seen in hummingbirds, allowing them to sip at the nectar using their long proboscis while keeping their wings suspended in an apparently stationary position.
As with many other species native to Hawaii, human activity, such as habitat destruction, has contributed to decreasing populations of this moth native species.
Fortunately, conservation efforts have helped preserve localized populations, and these spectacular hummers remain a sight worth beholding!
14. Gray Scoop Wing Moth
The Gray Scoop Wing Moth (Callizzia amorata) is a moth found in Hawaii. It is a small, gray moth with a wingspan of approximately 1 inch, and its wings are adorned with distinctive black horizontal lines.
They belong to the Noctuidae family of moths and can be found in forested areas or along roadsides during the summer months.
These types of moths in Hawaii feed on pollen, nectar, and sap from trees and shrubs as part of their diet.
The larvae feed mostly on conifer needles, but they also have been recorded to consume buds, flowers, seeds, and other plant matter.
Gray Scoop Wing Moths live relatively short lives of only 10-20 days, making them a special sight when spotted!
15. Grape Plume Moth
The Grape Plume Moth (Geina Perissodactyla) is a moth found in Hawaii. Native to the islands, these insects are unusual looking and a fascinating sight to behold.
The moths have brilliant purple and white markings and typically grow up to 25mm long, with their wingspan reaching around 30mm.
Their long white tails are distinctively marked with two black bands and three tufts of long golden hairs.
These types of moths in Hawaii live most of their lives as larvae in vineyards, feeding on grape leaves while they develop into adults.
Once they reach adulthood, the types of moths in Hawaii can be seen fluttering around the vines at night, pollinating flowers, and laying their eggs beneath the protective exterior of their pupal casings.
The Grape Plume Moth and its unique appearance make it an interesting addition to any ecosystem among grapevines or other plants it loves to feed on!
16. Mottled Grass-Veneer Moth
The Mottled Grass-Veneer Moth (Neodactria luteolellus) is a nocturnal species of moth found in Hawaii and other parts of the Pacific islands.
They are relatively small types of moths in Hawaii with wings that span approximately 20mm. The forewings typically have a brownish color, while the hind wings display yellowish hues.
The larvae and adults of this moth feed on grasses, weeds, and other plants, primarily feeding on grasses at night.
The female Mottled Grass-Veneer Moth lays her eggs near clusters of host plants on which the larvae can feed when they hatch.
This species is considered both an agricultural and ecological pest as it consumes various types of crops, including sugarcane, banana, sorghum, oats, barley, maize, and rice.
They are especially problematic for farmers trying to maintain healthy pastures for their livestock to graze upon due to their voracious appetite for grasses.
For those interested in entomology or just seeking out beautiful creatures in nature, you may spot these colorful little types of moths in Hawaii darting around early in the morning or during a warm summer night!
17. Yellow – collared scape Moth
The Yellow-collared Scape Moth (Cisseps fulvicollis), also known as the Corn Earworm, is one of the most common types of moths in Hawaii.
This insect species is typically seen during the summer months and inhabits moist areas, such as along streams and in wooded areas.
The moth is identified by the yellow markings on its two pairs of wings, forming a distinctive V-shape when the wings are spread open.
In addition to their yellow coloring, they also have various shades of gray, brown, and tan and are usually between 1 and 2 inches in length when stretched out.
The Yellow-collared Scape Moth’s life cycle consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult moth. The egg stage lasts one to two weeks before hatching into larvae or caterpillars.
These moths in Hawaii feed on plant material for approximately 4–5 weeks before spinning a cocoon, where it will enter its pupation stage.
After approximately 8–10 days in this stage, it finally matures into an adult moth.
The adult moths live for about 3 days before dying off due to exhaustion from mating or lack of food sources such as nectar or pollen.
As adults, these types of moths in Hawaii mainly feed on various flowers, providing sustenance for their short lifespans³.
18. White Admiral Butterfly
The White Admiral Butterfly (Limenitis Arthemis) is a moth species found in Hawaii.
Generally about two inches long, these types of moths in Hawaii are distinguished by their unique coloration: white admiral butterflies feature white wings with a distinct black band across the center and are often mistaken for the red admiral butterfly due to their similar pattern.
These types of moths in Hawaii can be found during the day flying in an open meadow or along the edges of a forest.
These moths feed on nectar from various flowers while also relying heavily on rotting fruit and tree sap as sources of nutrition.
The caterpillars have white stripes running along their back alongside numerous sparse hairs that give them a wooly appearance overall.
When threatened, caterpillars will usually curl up and attempt to blend into their surroundings to avoid getting eaten by predators.
As adults, these types of moths in Hawaii become much more active at night, using their wings to glide low over plants seeking food sources.
Much like other species of butterflies, adult white admirals are known to do occasional “puddling” – gathering in certain spots where minerals are abundant – often along streams or waterside areas that collect sunlight during midday hours.
19. Spotted Tussock Moth
The Spotted Tussock Moth (Lophocampa maculata) is a vibrant member of the tussock moth subfamily and can be found in areas such as Hawaii.
These types of moths in Hawaii can range from shades of pale yellow to an orange-red color and often have two prominent white spots on each hindwing with small black spots at the centers.
The wingspan is 12–15mm for males and 18–21mm for females. Spotted tussock moths are quite active during their adult flying stage, which lasts roughly one week between midsummer to late autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.
Still, they may also be seen fluttering throughout most of the year in tropical locations like Hawaii.
Spotted tussock moths are important pollinators whose caterpillars feed on several plants, such as palms and oleander bushes.
They have even been recorded as eating various forest trees, including hardwood species.
To defend itself against predators, this species has evolved many distinct characteristics, including camouflaged shapes and fur-like tufts of hair on its body that, when puffed, allow the moth to appear more formidable than it is.
Additionally, tussock moth caterpillars produce droplets of formic acid that act as natural insecticides when threatened by a predator or disturbed by human activity.
In Hawaii, spotted tussock moths can be observed most commonly near wooded areas and open fields during certain times of the year.
20. Scarlet -Winged Lichen Moth
The Scarlet-winged Lichen Moth (Hypoprepia miniata) is a moth species found in Hawaii.
The adults are characterized by their small size and brilliant metallic red wings. They measure about 25mm in length from wingtip to wingtip.
The forewing is bisected by a distinct yellow line that appears on both sides, with the outer half of the wings being much brighter than the inner segment.
The body is grayish-brown, with darker brown stripes on the abdomen.
The lichen moths are most abundant during spring, as they look for mates during this mating season. They feed mainly on lichens, mosses, and other plant materials.
Females lay clusters of spherical eggs on trees and shrubs near where they feed, which usually hatch into larvae after two or three weeks.
These larvae go through several growth stages before pupating and then emerging as adults around two or three weeks later.
The adult Scarlet-winged Lichens tend to stay close to their food sources once they emerge, making them easily noticed due to their vibrant coloring against otherwise dark backgrounds.
21. Robin’s Carpenterworm Moth
The Robin’s Carpenterworm Moth (Prionoxystus robiniae) is next on our list of types of moths in Hawaii. It can be found in various parts of the islands, including Oahu, Kauai, and Maui.
They usually lay their eggs on the bark of trees and shrubs, preferably on species such as koa, hala, eucalyptus, and pandanus.
The types of moths in Hawaii are notable for being able to bore through wood without killing the wood itself; this behavior gives them their common name.
Though they have been found on every major Hawaiian island, they appear not very populous.
The larvae themselves are also unique looking, with colorful heads and yellowish-brown bodies covered with short hairs, which give them an almost fuzzy appearance.
They come in two different sizes depending on whether or not they were feeding on hardwood or softwood when developing into adults.
The adult moths bear blackish-gray wings, sometimes tinted with a hint of blue at their base and tipped with orange lines running from front to back.
These types of moths in Hawaii can typically be seen during the late summer months in Hawaii as they come out late at night looking for food sources such as nectar from flowers.
22. Red grounding Moth
The Red Groundling Moth (Perigea xanthioides) is a moth found in Hawaii, specifically in parts of Maui and Molokai.
These types of moths in Hawaii are known for their bright red wings with black markings that are distinct enough to recognize them from other species easily.
Their body is white, which helps to highlight the vividness of their wings.
The Red Groundling Moth has distinctive antennae and long slender legs; its wingspan can reach up to 2 inches.
This species is ant-mimicking, meaning that its pattern matches that of common ants to deceive predators into thinking it is an ant and not a food source.
Red Groundling Moths are diurnal creatures that are most active during the day.
They have been observed feeding on nectar from various flowering plants throughout Hawaii’s tropical forests, such as ohia lehua trees, guava trees, lobelia shrubs, and trees – all plants native to Hawaii.
Females tend to be more inactive during the day than males; instead, they lay eggs on the the underside of leaves near flower heads, where larvae will feed off the sap and sugar-rich nectar produced by flowers.
Although these types of moths in Hawaii usually don’t migrate unless growing food resources become scarce, populations moving beyond Hawaiian islands have been reported due to strong wind currents picking up groups of moths and carrying them away in flight for hundreds of miles before settling again.
23. Polyphemus Moth
The Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus) is a species of moth that can be found in Hawaii, where it is also known as the monkey slug.
This moth species has a wingspan of up to seven inches, making it one of the largest moths in the world.
Its wings are usually yellow and brown, but there can be slight variations in color depending on its location.
The head has a characteristic bulging yellow spot that looks like an eye, which gives rise to its common name of “eye-spot moth.”
These types of moths in Hawaii are nocturnal and emerge mostly during the summer months.
They feed mainly on vegetation such as grasses, clover leaves, and nectar from flowers.
Like other members of their family, they use their sense organs to detect and respond to potential predators such as wasps, ants, and birds which makes them tend to flap their wings very quickly if disturbed or alarmed.
Their larvae are called caterpillars which feed on plants and trees for about four weeks before moving into a chrysalis for pupation after passing through four instars.
Adult Polyphemus Moths have only a few days to live before they die naturally without mating, unlike other insects that may live longer.
Overall these types of moths in Hawaii are impressive creatures that play an important role in Hawaiian ecosystems, especially in pollination!
24. Plume Moth
The Plume Moth (Hellinsia homodactyla) is a species of moths found in the Hawaiian Islands.
It belongs to the family Pterophoridae and is found predominantly in dry forests and grassy areas.
The wingspan of an adult plume moth can reach up to 4 centimeters, and its body color ranges from light browns to darker shades, depending on the species.
The most distinguishable feature of these types of moths in Hawaii is the tuft-like plumes that come out of their bodies near the head and tail, giving them a distinctive appearance.
Plume Moths usually feed on flower nectars or certain fruits and vegetables, providing them with energy for flights.
These types of moths in Hawaii are also unique in that they have adapted to survive windy conditions, as their size allows them to hover unnoticed by predators in gusts of wind which would blow away much larger insects or birds.
Despite their small size, plume moths have been known to produce loud buzzing sounds when disturbed, partly as a defense mechanism against predators but mostly as a way of communicating with other members of the same species.
While these types of moths in Hawaii may seem tiny, they play an important role in Hawaii’s ecosystem, pollinating flowers and helping disperse seeds from one area to another.
25. Painted Lichen Moth
This is the next on our list of types of moths in Hawaii. The Painted Lichen Moth (Hypoprepia fucosa), is a species of moth that inhabits the lush rainforests of Hawaii.
It is one of the most magnificent moths in the Hawaii ecosystem due to its beautiful coloration, with varying shades of red, yellow, orange, and pink on its wings.
These types of moths in Hawaii can be found in areas with plenty of leafy shrubs and trees, where they feed on foliage as caterpillars before forming into cocoons and emerging as adults.
In addition to their vibrant hues, these moths have long-haired antennae adapted for detecting pheromones when searching for mates.
The Painted Lichen Moth is an important part of the Hawaiian environment since they act as a pollinator for many native plants like banana and avocado trees.
In addition to providing food sources for birds and lizards that inhabit the botanical landscape, this species also helps keep the ecosystem balanced by serving as essential prey items for local predators.
Unfortunately, their numbers have been significantly reduced over the years due to the destruction of their habitats from human development and changes in local climate conditions due to global warming.
As such, conservation efforts must be put into place to protect this vital species, which plays an integral role in Hawaii’s unique ecosystems.
26. Reversed Haploa Moth
The Reversed Haploa Moth (Haploa reversa) is a moth species found in Hawaii.
Although they have a short lifespan of only a few days, these moths play an important role in Hawaiian ecosystems.
They are considered herbivores and responsible for pollinating various island plants and flowers.
The Reversed Haploa Moth has a distinct appearance with white wings lined by dotted brown edges, while the body is covered in reddish-brown fur.
Reversed Haploa moths typically hatch during summer months in the Hawaiian Islands, predominantly during the late afternoon and into the evening hours.
They feed off different tree foliage such as kukui nuts, guava, lilikoi, and papaya trees.
On some occasions, these types of moths in Hawaii have been observed laying eggs on foliage or stems that contain calcium carbonate, which can help to improve soil health when their larva eventually hatches from them.
Aside from being beneficial pollinators, these moths in Hawaii can also become food sources for certain species of birds on Hawaii’s islands who feed off them before they complete their life cycle.
27. Somber Carpet Moth
The Somber Carpet Moth (Disclisioprocta stellata) is a moth species endemic to the Hawaiian Islands.
It is a medium-sized moth belonging to the Noctuoidea superfamily and is characterized by rust-colored patterned wings, yellow antennae, and elongated dark gray/brown bodies.
The Somber Carpet Moth typically resides in damp woodlands or coastal forests and can be found in soil crevices or on tree trunks with its distinctive large hind legs.
It feeds predominantly on pine needles, dead branches, decaying foliage, and animal dung.
One of the most interesting features of this species is that the female moth will lay eggs while she is still alive to save time.
This helps them to reproduce quickly and prevent their eggs from being preyed upon by birds or other predators.
The larvae are small caterpillars that grow up to 1 inch long before spinning a cocoon amongst the debris, where they will rest until they transform into full-grown adult moths.
Professional pest control management teams often use traps baited with pheromones of the Somber Carpet Moth to lure these creatures away from homes and businesses, keeping populations in check across Hawaii’s ecosystem.
28. Small-eyed Sphinx Moth
The Small-eyed Sphinx Moth (Paonias myops) is one of the types of moths in Hawaii.
This moth has a wingspan of 1.5 to 2 inches and is identifiable by the pink and yellow stripes on its body and wings.
Its head is black, and the eyespots, which give the moth its name, are small compared to other species of moths.
The body, from which it derives its scientific name (Myops meaning “small eye”), is light brown and distinctly striped with pink or yellow swirls along the surface of the wings.
The Small-eyed Sphinx Moth feeds on certain flowers, especially those belonging to wild morning glories most commonly found in forests or woodlands throughout Hawaii.
The types of moths in Hawaii can be seen during the day flying around in search of nectar-yielding flowers, typically in heavily shaded areas upland from coasts and lowland valleys below 2500 feet elevation.
Once night comes, they are known to roost amid vines, stone walls, or leaves while digesting their meals collected during the day.
They breed between March and mid-May; their caterpillars can be seen crawling down long-stem plants such as hibiscus tree saplings or various trees used for landscaping purposes around residential areas.
29. Venerable Dart Moth
The Venerable Dart Moth (Agrotis venerabilis) is a moth found in Hawaii.
These types of moths in Hawaii belong to the Noctuidae family and are also known as arrow-winged moths due to their distinctive wings with arrow-shaped patterns.
These types of moths in Hawaii are predominantly gray or brown with yellowish streaks on both sides of the thorax and two rows of white spots near the head. The wingspan can range from 3 cm up to 6 cm long.
The Venerable Dart Moth feeds on nectar, pollen, and fruits, and their caterpillars are known to feed on various plants, including garden flowers, grasses, and vegetable crops.
They typically fly during the night during relative warmth between sunset and sunrise.
These types of moths in Hawaii are considered an important agricultural pest species in Hawaii due to their damage potential to flowers, vegetables, herbs, and other crops, which can lead to significant yield losses for farmers.
However, this moth also serves an ecological role by providing food for other wildlife, such as lizards, frogs, and birds.
As such, land managers need to appreciate the unique role that different species play within a shared environment when deciding what species should be protected from disturbance or managing population growth through controlled methods like pesticide application.
30. Unicorn Caterpillar Moth
The Unicorn Caterpillar Moth (Schizura unicornis) is a moth found in the Hawaiian Islands.
Its most distinctive feature is its tufted hair which resembles a unicorn’s horn, hence the name.
This moth species can range in color from bright green to yellow and brown to black, depending on the season they are in.
The types of moths in Hawaii primarily feed on leaves from palms and ferns but can also eat other foliage such as banana plants, mulberry trees, and even citrus plants.
These attractive types of moths in Hawaii have long been admired for their unique physical features, but few people know that adult moths are also capable hunters.
At dusk, the male moths will often fly out into open spaces and hunt for unsuspecting small flying insects with strong pincers located near the end of their antennae.
Once captured by these antenna forks, larger prey items could be eaten or carried back to a protected space for later consumption.
During drought or when food resources become limited, these moths may eat moth larvae instead, which has disastrous consequences on local ecosystems.
Female Unicorn Caterpillar Moths lay around 40 eggs at a time on lower branches of various host plants during the spring and usually hatch within 3 days.
31. Variable Antepone Moth
This is the next on our list of types of moths in Hawaii. The Variable Antepone Moth (Antepione thisoaria) is an endemic moth species found in Hawaii.
Native to the islands, it is a member of the family Geometridae.
Generally grayish-brown, the antennae and veins of the wings typically exhibit a reddish hue. The hindwings display rustier tones along the veins and cilia.
With a wingspan reaching up to two inches, they are classified as medium-sized types of moths in Hawaii.
Variable Antepone Moths are mostly nocturnal and active from late April through mid-June.
During their time in Hawaii, these moths can be spotted clinging to tree trunks and other large surfaces, such as walls or rocks, during the day and become increasingly active at night when they navigate by moonlight.
As their name suggests, individuals often display variations of patterns depending on their location; certain regions may show more stripes than others, making it difficult for scientists to identify them accurately from diverse populations.
In addition to being attracted to light sources at night, these moths have a few common food sources: Willows and Hibiscus flowers serve as primary nourishment.
At the same time, white clover leaves provide water absorption that sustains them in between meals.
32. Western Tent Moth
The Western Tent Moth (Malacosoma californicum) is a moth found in Hawaii.
These types of moths in Hawaii belong to the family Lasiocampidae, which includes tent caterpillars, lappet moths, and other species of moths typically found in the Western Palearctic.
While active all year round, these moths in Hawaii are usually more evident during the summer months.
The Western Tent Moth is characterized by its yellow-orange or redhead and gray thorax, while its abdomen can be cream-colored or grayish with dark spots.
The wingspan of this species is up to 17 cm, and they have distinctive white hairs on their legs.
The larvae of the Western Tent Moth feed mainly on leaves from pine and Douglas fir tree, although they may also feed occasionally on other deciduous trees like oaks and maples.
In Hawaii, these pests can significantly damage ornamental trees due to their large numbers when the breeding season takes place in late summer.
Because of this threat to local agriculture, management techniques like hand removal and insecticide applications are often used to keep populations under control.
33. Western Grapeleaf Skeletonizer Moth
This is the next on our list of types of moths in Hawaii. The Western Grapeleaf Skeletonizer Moth (Harrisina metallica) is a moth species found in Hawaii.
It has a wingspan of up to 2 inches and is distinguishable by its metallic green bands across the wings.
They are generally active at night, with the adults flying around lights or other illumination sources.
The larvae or caterpillars can be seen during the day and can be found eating on grape leaves, hence their name – Western Grapeleaf Skeletonizer Moth.
Female types of moths in Hawaii lay eggs on the underside of grapevine leaves, which hatch into bright yellow striped caterpillars after about a week.
The caterpillars develop quickly, molting 4-5 times over about two weeks to reach their adult form.
In the final stages of its life cycle, the caterpillar will encase itself in a cocoon that attaches to an object near the ground, such as rocks or wood.
After emerging from its cocoon, it will mate and start the cycle again.
The Western Grapeleaf Skeletonizer Moth is not considered an agricultural pest since they rarely feed on agricultural plants like oranges or apples – they much prefer grapes.
Even so, they can occasionally become numerous enough to cause agricultural damage if not dealt with quickly.
34. Wavy-lined Emerald Moth
The Wavy-lined Emerald Moth (Synchlora aerate) is a species of colorful types of moths in Hawaii and parts of North America.
The adults are small, measuring under an inch long, with beautiful iridescent greens and blues in their wings. They usually emerge during summer and fly around during the day or evening.
The Wavy-lined Emerald Moth is considered one of the most stunning moths on the planet due to its vibrant colors that appear as it flies through the sunlight.
This species is particularly well adapted to living in Hawaiian habitats, where they prefer open grassy areas with plenty of warmth, moisture, and sweet nectar sources.
The larvae of this species feed primarily on legumes such as clover, alfalfa, and vetch, while the adults prefer sipping sugar from flowers or tree sap.
This type of moth also possesses an important natural ability to detect predators with their large compound eyes, which can help them spot potential threats nearby before it’s too late.
In addition to these helpful attributes, the Wavy-lined Emerald Moth plays a major role in pollination cycles in Hawaii by transferring pollen between plants each time they take off in flight.
35. Wasp Moth
This is the next on our list of types of moths in Hawaii. The Wasp Moth, or Melittia sp., is a type of moth that resides in tropical and subtropical regions but is especially abundant in Hawaii.
These types of moths in Hawaii come in shades ranging from white and yellow to black with orange or brown accents.
Wasp Moths have thin wings and long thin antennae, making them easily distinguishable from other moths.
The underside of the wings of the adult males is covered in a velvety black and white pattern, while the females are lighter with more brownish coloring on their hindwings.
Despite their intimidating appearance, Wasp Moths are harmless to humans and even beneficial as they act as pollinators for plants native to the islands, such as Hibiscus biriamii (Hawaiian Wave Petunia), Cyanea species (Hawaiian Bellflower), Clermontia species (Hawaiian Lobelioideae) among others.
The caterpillars tend to feed on foliage like Hibiscus species; Anthurium; Schefflera sp.; Pelea sp.; Cibotium sp.; Argyroxiphium sp.; Pittosporum; Pipturus sp.; Psorothamnus polyneuron (Koa haole); Acacia koa; Delonix regia (Flame tree); Solanum nelsonii (Lobelia Nelson’s Nettle tree); Pandanus tectorius (Hala-tree); Scaevola taccada (Naupaka) and Guerinia speciosa among others.
Wasp Moths can be seen flying about during the daytime when nectaring flowers for food, typically near coastlines at midday.
They also make short flights late into the evening, often visiting artificial light sources such as street lamps.
36. Vine Sphinx Moth
The Vine Sphinx Moth (Eumorpha Vitis) is last on our list of types of moths in Hawaii.
This large moth has a wingspan of up to 5 inches and can be found in the shrubs and trees near the mountain slopes of the islands.
These moths’ bodies are white-gray, with several yellow markings on the wing surface and along the sides.
Their wingspan is generally larger than other Hawaiian moths, giving them an impressive appearance in flight.
During the breeding season, Vine sphinx moths will lay around 30 eggs on host plants such as grapevines or koa trees.
The larvae of this particular species are incredibly colorful, ranging from shades of pink, black, and green, and often have intricate designs along their bodies.
As their main diet consists of leaves from their host plants and nectar from nearby flowers, many Vine sphinx moth caterpillars clustered together during active eating periods.
These types of moths in Hawaii typically take longer than most other Hawaiian moths to complete their life cycle, reaching maturity after 20 days or more, depending on environmental factors.
After reaching the caterpillar phase, these insects will metamorphose into adult moths ready to start a new life cycle.
Hawaii has multiple types of moths. Ranging from small day-flying moths to large nocturnal ones.
The most common species include the endangered Ciulfina cosmia moth, Ogdoconta cinereola, and Euplexia benesimilis.
The variety of habitats in which these types of moths in Hawaii can be found reveals that Hawaii’s landscapes provide a diverse range of places for these creatures to live and offer them varying levels of food sources, shelter, and protection from predators.
In addition to providing an ideal environment for these types of moths in Hawaii to thrive, Hawaii’s many islands offer unique opportunities to study the behavior and adaptations of these fascinating creatures.