Have you ever seen a moth flitting around your backyard and wondered what kind of moth it was?
Whether you’re a biologist or an amateur naturalist, understanding the types of moths in Arizona can help you better identify them.
Arizona is home to an astonishing variety of insects, including more than 1250 species of moths!
This figure stands even greater when considering the various subspecies included. These creatures come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, from colorful butterflies to drab larvae.
In this article, we will discuss in detail the different types of moths in Arizona, along with descriptions and pictures so that they may be easily identified.
We’ll also talk about their habitats, behaviors, and steps to take if one has invaded your space.
By reading this article, you’ll gain valuable knowledge about Arizona’s incredible variety of moths.
1. Little White Lichen Moth
The Little White Lichen Moth (Clemensia albata) is a small moth species found across North America. It belongs to the subfamily Arctiinae within the family Erebidae and usually has an orange-brown and white patterned body with black spots. This species is most active between June and August and tends to feed on lichens during the day, although they may also be active at night in cooler weather.
The Little White Lichen Moth’s larvae feed voraciously on certain lichens such as Usnea longissima, Parmotrema perlatum, Physcia aipolia, and Cladonia species. This can make the larvae particularly damaging to lichen populations in some areas. Meanwhile, this is the first on this list of the different types of moths in Arizona.
The adult moths of this species are not especially large at 12-15mm in size but have short antennae and well-defined facial markings that distinguish them from other similar-looking moths. Unlike some other arctiine moth species, which tend to be nocturnal or crepuscular, the Little White Lichen Moth is strictly diurnal. Males of this species use pheromones to attract females for mating. Still, studies have suggested that these pheromones may act as deterrents instead in areas where there are high concentrations of Clemensia albata adults present.
Additionally, when disturbed, adults of this species will sometimes display a unique behavior called blackout “jumping.” They do this by flying erratically away while beating their wings rapidly against their body to confuse potential predators. This is definitely one of the interesting types of moths in Arizona you should know!
2. Hickory Tussock Moth
The Hickory Tussock Moth (Lophocampa caryae) is a species of moth in the family Erebidae which can be found throughout most of North America. The adults are easily recognizable with their white and black stripes and long, tuft-like antennae. The moth’s larvae, the second on this list of the types of moths in Arizona, have bright colors ranging from yellow, red, blue, and green.
Hickory tussock moths feed on the foliage of deciduous trees such as oak, hickory, and walnut. These moths are also known for their resistance to insecticides due to their thick hair covering, making them difficult to control effectively. However, environmental management methods may provide efficient solutions for management efforts.
As its name implies, the hickory tussock moth is particularly fond of hickory trees and heavily defoliates them in late summer and autumn by consuming the foliage. This usually does not fatally damage actively growing trees but can weaken or kill older or stressed trees.
Although it is considered an agricultural pest due to its diet consisting mostly of foliage from trees used for commercial purposes such as cash crops or timber production, it can also provide economic benefits through its use in honey production and silkworm cultivation when the larvae stage. This is second on our list of the types of moths in Arizona!
3. Hera BuckMoth
The Hera BuckMoth (Hemileuca hera) is a species of Arctiidae moth found in western North America, from British Columbia to Texas. It is particularly common in the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges. It can reach a wingspan of 9 to 10 cm (3.5 – 4 inches). The moths are also types of moths in Arizona and are black with yellow or orange bands around their abdomens.
The caterpillars are brown and striped; they eat a variety of plant matter but particularly feed on sagebrush and goldenrod during the summertime months. Adult females lay eggs on young plants such as grasses, sedges, forbs, yarrows, and berry bushes during late spring/early summer. The larvae will then hatch after several weeks and become mature caterpillars in the fall that overwinter before pupating in the late winter or early springtime months.
Despite its bright colors, this moth species is not toxic to its predators due to an obligate association between itself and certain myrmecophytic ants who also inhabit its habitat. This relationship helps protect the moth by alarming the ants when predators come near—the ants will then quickly defend their host.
4. Gracile Palpita Moth
The Gracile Palpita Moth (Palpita atrisquamalis) is a small nocturnal moth widely distributed across the warmer regions of Southern Europe and North America. The moth has an elongated and slender body with dark brown wings that feature white spots and intricate patterns. These moths in Arizona are often found in gardens, meadows, coastlines, and woods, where they feed on nectar from wildflowers.
Female moths lay eggs near the base of a flower or other plant, and then the larvae tunnel inside stems to feed on the soft tissues within when they hatch. Adult moths emerge in springtime and fly throughout the summer months in search of mates while pollinating flowers. One unique trait of this species is their ability to “shiver” their flight muscles rapidly at incredibly high speeds, which generates a loud buzzing sound to deter predators and attract mates.
5. Four-Spotted Gluphisia Moth
Gluphisia avimacula, otherwise known as the four-spotted Gluphisia moth, is a small moth found in central and eastern North America. Its forewing has four distinct black spots along the coastal margins, giving the moth its unique appearance. The wings range from yellowish to light brown in color, with a wingspan of about 1 inch.
The Gluphisia avimacula generally lives near open meadows, prairies, fields, and waste places where its main food sources are honeysuckle flowers or buds. Adults of these particular types of moths in Arizona tend to emerge during the springtime between April and May. Mating occurs soon after emergence, where pairs of moths can be seen flitting around together, looking for suitable locations to lay their eggs.
The larvae are mainly green but are surrounded by reddish-purple bands, which help them hide on the stems of honeysuckles. After feeding on the flowers or buds for about two weeks, they reach maturity before crawling down to pupate in the soil for another two weeks. They eventually emerge as adults again in search of mates and start their cycle all over again.
These types of moths in Arizona are considered important pollinators for flowering plants such as honeysuckle. This is due to their preference for consuming flower nectar rather than leaves or other plant material. As such, these moths play an important role in maintaining an ecological balance within disturbed habitats, from urban to rural settings.
6. Dogwood Thyatirin Moth
The Dogwood Thyatirin Moth (Epimecis hortaria) is a species of insect belonging to the family Geometridae. It is found primarily in North America but can also be spotted in parts of Europe and Asia. The moth has a wingspan of up to 50mm, with a bright yellow and white pattern on its wings. This species’s caterpillar is light greenish-gray and grows up to 30 mm long.
The Dogwood Thyatirin Moth, one of the types of moths in Arizona, primarily feeds on leaves from trees such as oak, maple, and dogwood. The larvae feed voraciously as they mature, often defoliating large stretches of foliage if left unchecked. They pupate from late May through September before becoming adults and flying away in search of mates.
This species has been recorded to play an important role in natural pest control since it feeds on several insects that are known as agricultural pests. As such, the Dogwood Thyatirin Moth can help keep infestations under control without using chemicals or other means, which could adversely affect the environment or human health.
7. Cecropia Silk Moth
The Cecropia silk moth (Hyalophora cecropia) is a member of the Saturniidae family and is native to North America. It is one of the largest moths in the United States and can have a wingspan of up to 6 inches. The upper wings are rusty-brown,, while its undersides may be gray, red, or yellow. Its abdomen is usually marked with large eyespots and bold stripes of deep gold and bluish-black coloration.
The caterpillars’ general body color ranges from yellow to lime green, with black spiked horns on their heads. Unlike other types of moths in Arizona, these horns give them their nickname “Toadworm.” During pupation, the larvae construct a sturdy silken cocoon for protection before spinning a thin gossamer membrane to cover this exterior shell.
The pupal stage lasts anywhere from two weeks to five months, depending on location and temperature likewise typical period from egg to adult emergence is estimated at six weeks in the Summer season but may extend up to 10 months in colder regions. Cecropia Silk Moths are considered non-pest species as they do not produce economically damaging amounts of silk nor consume enough foliage to cause injury to trees or other crops growing nearby.
They are types of moths in Arizona that instead pollinate plants, including garlic mustard, vegetable poppy, wild privet, and silver maple, among others. Thereby helping maintain the biodiversity of local habitats by providing vital nourishment for other beneficial insects like bees and butterflies, which are crucial for agricultural productivity and our own food security.
8. Ceanothus Silkmoth
The Ceanothus Silkmoth (Hyalophora euryalus) is a species of moth in the family Saturniidae. It is found throughout North and Central America, from southern Canada to Mexico and Nicaragua. The adult moths have a wingspan of up to 11 cm and silvery blue-gray or brownish-black wings with distinctive white lines running along them.
These types of moths in Arizona are typically active at night, and their larvae feed exclusively on Ceanothus shrubs such as white sagebrush and California buckeye. They tend to feed on these plants until they mature into adults, which often takes up to two years. During mid-July and August, adult females lay up to 120 eggs in rows on the underside of Ceanothus leaves, which hatch within three weeks.
Ceanothus Silk Moths, one of the types of moths in Arizona, are known for their ability to make “silk,” which they use to spin cocoons when they pupate into adults. This cocoon is incredibly strong and offers ample protection against predators such as birds or other invertebrates that may try to consume the pupa or larva inside it.
The lifecycle of the Ceanothus Silkmoth can be quite unpredictable due to fluctuations in weather patterns or local environmental conditions, as well as its limited distribution range across North America. Due to their declining population numbers over time due to cuts in open spaces for foraging by both the moths’ caterpillars and adults, conserving these habitats has become essential for ensuring the continued survival of this species in areas where it resides naturally.
9. Cattail Caterpillar Moth
The Cattail Caterpillar Moth (Acronicta insularis) is also not left off the list of the several types of moths in Arizona. The adult moth has a wingspan of about an inch and is a light yellow-brown color, with dim light and dark brownish-black markings on its wings. It is most commonly found on cattails and reeds near marshy wetlands.
These moths are active during the warmer months from May to August, laying their eggs in clusters on the underside of foliage close to the ground or on stems of aquatic plants such as cattails. The larvae can be observed feeding on leaves and stems, usually at night, and curled up in a loose circle during the day. The larvae are distinctively colored, green or black, with yellow stripes or spots along their backs. They overwinter as pupae in cocoons they spin while still in their larval stage.
Once the Cattail Caterpillar Moth reaches adulthood, it typically feeds on flower nectar at night, using its long proboscis to drink deeply from blooms like goldenrods, daisies, and milkweeds. These particular types of moths in Arizona provide important pollination services for some species of flowers and serve as food for local predators, including birds, frogs, reptiles, and spiders.
10. Carpet Moths
Carpet moths are a species of moth that can cause considerable damage to carpets and other household items made out of natural fibers, such as blankets and clothing. These pests are very small, approximately 6-7 millimeters long, and have pale golden brown wings with a slight metallic sheen. They lay their eggs in dark, undisturbed areas away from light sources, often near carpets or furniture upholstery fibers that the larvae feed on once they hatch.
To help prevent carpet moths, on this list of the types of moths in Arizona, from infesting your home, it is important to regularly clean and vacuum all carpets and furniture. This is to remove dirt and debris that could provide them with an ideal habitat for laying eggs and nesting. Additionally, regular inspections should be carried out for any signs of an infestation, such as webbing or larvae cocoons on fabric surfaces.
11. Calleta Silkmoth
The Calleta Silkmoth (Callosamia angulifera) is a species of moth in the family Saturniidae. It has a wingspan of up to 6 centimeters and is usually found in North America, ranging from Canada to Central America. This species is characterized by reddish-brown markings on its wings, which are visible even when resting. Its antennae are black, and it has a white abdomen.
The Calleta Silkmoth, which is also one of the types of moths in Arizona, prefers habitats such as dry coniferous forests and open sunny areas with grassy vegetation. This is where it can find food sources such as ragweed and goldenrod flowers. It is active during the day and at night. It is often attracted to artificial light sources, which may be observed by those interested in observing moths in their natural environment.
12. Bluish Spring Moth
The Bluish Spring Moth (Calliteara lunulata) is a small secretive moth that can be found in various locations throughout Europe and North America. This species is usually a light blue-gray color with a distinctive yellow spot on the forewings, while the hindwings are plain gray. Its head features two distinct black tufts on each side, making it easily identifiable among other species of moths.
This species prefers habitats with damp conditions, such as deciduous forests or meadows near bodies of water. It will feed on nectar from flowers such as hawkbit and will occasionally visit clay banks to rest in the evening hours. These types of moths in Arizona produce one generation each year during late spring or early summer after hatching from eggs that are laid on the underside of leaves near their food sources.
After emerging from its cocoon, the adult Bluish Spring Moth will remain active until their short mating season is complete before passing away shortly afterward. As an agricultural pest, this species of the types of moths in Arizona has caused severe damage to crops such as maize and wheat due to its larvae consuming the leaves and stems.
This causes significant crop loss if not managed correctly by farmers or gardeners. The Bluish Spring Moth also has natural predators, including various birds that will feed on them and their larvae at different times in their life cycles.
13. Blinded Sphinx Moth
The Blinded Sphinx Moth (Paonias excaecata) is a species of silkmoth found in the eastern United States and Canada. It is one of the various types of moths in Arizona and has a unique pattern of orange and white stripes and long, feathered antennae. In addition to its striking appearance, the Blinded Sphinx Moth plays an important role in its local ecosystems.
It is a pollinator for plants such as dogwood, rhododendron, and honeysuckle, helping to facilitate their propagation and growth. The Blinded Sphinx Moth also helps other moth species by providing them with food – the larvae feed mainly on violets, helping ensure that these wildflowers thrive in the areas where they can be found.
Furthermore, this species’ presence adds visual interest to many landscapes. This makes it a popular subject for nature photographers and insect enthusiasts.
14. Bilobed Looper
The Bilobed Looper is a caterpillar that feeds on various plants and trees in North America. It is one of the types of moths in Arizona easily recognized by its yellowish-green color and distinctive double-lobed body. The Bilobed Looper gets its name because of the “looping” pattern its body takes when it moves, making it look like an elongated figure eight.
The looper feeds on host plant species such as maple, elm, oak, ash, willow, poplar,, fruit, or nut trees, including apple, cherry, peach, and walnut. Its larvae feed mainly on the host tree’s foliage or shrub species from those groups. Although the Bilobed Looper does not pose a significant threat to most established trees in North America, young nursery stock may be heavily damaged if overpopulated with them.
Bilobed Loopers are controlled mainly through chemical insecticides or biological control agents, such as predatory insects or parasitic wasps, which assist in managing populations. If needed, handpicking larvae should also be done to reduce population size, which can help prevent tree damage. Additionally, pruning off infested branches can help reduce their numbers while providing better air circulation to prevent fungal growth in the canopy of affected trees.
15. Big Poplar Sphinx
The Big Poplar Sphinx is an ancient Egyptian monument located in the city of Giza, just outside Cairo. It is one of the most iconic structures from the era and stands as a testament to Egypt’s archaic past. The sphinx was carved out of limestone around 2532 BC and is believed to represent Pharaoh Khafra, who commissioned it as part of a funeral complex for his father, Khufu.
The monument stands 73 feet tall and 66 feet wide at its base, making it one of the largest sphinxes ever created. The body is human with a lion’s head, symbolizing power and strength. Through centuries of natural erosion and defacement by man, much of the detail has been lost, but recent restoration efforts have aimed to restore some of its pristine original forms. To this day, it is one of the different types of moths in Arizona that remains an impressive marvel that captivates visitors from around the world.
16. Bent-Line Carpet Moth
The Bent-line Carpet Moth (Xanthorhoe fluctuata) is a species of moth belonging to the family Geometridae. It is distributed across Eurasia, with specimens found in countries including the United Kingdom, Norway, and Russia. The adult moth has a wingspan of up to 2 cm and is a pale brownish-gray or buff color patterned with darker bands or spots. Its body is quite flat, giving it its characteristic bent-line-shaped wings.
The caterpillar of the Bent-line Carpet Moth feeds on plant material such as grasses and herbaceous plants but can cause extensive damage if numbers become too large. When fully grown, the mature caterpillar pupates before emerging as an adult Bent-line Carpet Moth about two weeks later.
Due to its wide distribution, the Bent-line Carpet Moth, on our list of the types of moths in Arizona, has few predators. Its populations have not been significantly reduced by any factors other than human influence, such as habitat destruction. As it can be found in many habitats, from urban parks to mountain meadows, conservation efforts are not deemed necessary at this time.
17. Barberry Geometer Moth
The Barberry Geometer Moth (Orthonama obstipata) is a non-migrating moth species found in parts of Eurasia and North America. It belongs to the family Geometridae, which contains around 1,000 species of moths. The adult Barberry Geometer Moth is characterized by dark brown and yellow/orange markings on its wings and a prominent protrusion or ‘nose’ at the tip of its long antennae.
The larvae consist of two instar stages before they reach adulthood; in their first stage, larvae are bright green with black hairs running along their body, while in the second stage, they change to gold with brown stripes. As caterpillars, these types of moths in Arizona feed off various plants, including Dandelion, Ragwort, Broom, and wild Rose bushes.
Due to its broad range across Europe and North America, the Barberry Geometer Moth is not threatened or endangered by international conservation lists. However, due to habitat destruction in certain areas, such as India, there may be cause for concern in localized populations. Several conservation efforts have been put into place in Europe and North America for this species aiming to protect their habitats from degradation due to human activities such as deforestation and agricultural development.
18. Banded Woollybear Caterpillar Moth
The Banded Woollybear Caterpillar Moth (Euproctis Chryzar se) is a moth found in North America with long, fur-like bodies in various patches of black and brown. These particular types of moths in Arizona play an essential role in their habitat’s ecosystem and are an important food source for many predators in these ecosystems. A distinguishing feature of the Banded Woollybear Caterpillar Moth is creamy with a patchy black band on its back.
As caterpillars, these moths feed primarily on grasses, such as rye and fescue, as well as clover, alfalfa, and other broad-leaved plants. They also move and climb up trees rapidly when disturbed or alarmed. As adults, they are mostly nocturnal and only come out at night to feed on nectar from flowers.
These moths are important pollinators for many wildflowers in North America, including daisies, thistle, and blisterwort, since some species have relatively short lifespans once they reach adulthood (only 1-2 weeks). In addition to their importance as pollinators, Banded Woollybear Caterpillar Moths provide an important food source to numerous organisms. These include birds and animals such as bats and spiders who prey upon them during their larval stage.
Their distinct coloration makes them immediately noticeable but is also thought to be beneficial for helping them blend into their environments. This increases their chance of survival by avoiding predation from some non-specialist predators who might think they are simply consuming dirt or soil. This list of the types of moths in Arizona is incomplete without the Banded Woollybear Caterpillar Moth!
19. Bagworm Moths
Still, on this list of the types of moths in Arizona, Bagworm moths (Theridopteryx ephemeraeformis) are small insects that belong to the family Pyralidae. They are commonly found in North America and can be identified by their hard, protective bag-like cases, which they use to protect themselves from predators. The adults have wings with a wingspan of up to 5 cm (2 inches).
When the female is ready to lay eggs, she finds a suitable location, such as wood or plant stems, and lays her eggs inside the bag. She then seals the bag using silk before dying. The larvae stay inside these bags until they hatch into small grayish-brown caterpillars that are Yellowish at one end and have orange spiracles along the side of their body.
These caterpillars feed on plants such as apple, elm, oak, and cottonwood trees by chewing off parts of leaves or needles and feeding on them inside their bag case. After three weeks, they pupate; they emerge as adults two weeks later. Adult males have feathery antennae, while females lack them altogether.
During mating season, males fly around searching for a female by smell with their antennae before laying down a pheromone trail behind them as they fly away from her. Females use this trail to follow him back to his territory, where they will lay their eggs if he is an acceptable mate for them.
Bagworm moths sometimes become pests, eating large quantities of foliage on host trees or shrubs and causing some damage in the process. But since most gardeners trim or pick off branches infested with worms, most cases don’t cause too much harm. This makes it easy to show appreciation for these unique insects on our list of the types of moths in Arizona that provide an interesting piece of nature’s puzzle!
20. Army Cutworm Moth
The Army Cutworm Moth (Euxoa auxiliaris) is a species of moth found primarily in North America. It gets its name because its larvae, or caterpillars, are often known to cut down or “mow” the stems of a wide range of plants. The adults of these types of moths in Arizona typically have gray wings and measure around one inch in size. Females usually outnumber males by about two to one and lay eggs mainly clustered on grasses and various crop plants.
When the eggs hatch, the caterpillars begin pupating and eventually grow into adult moths which can live up to three weeks before dying off. During their lifecycle, they feed on various grasses and crops like alfalfa, wheat, oats, and clover; however, they are also known to become occasional pests of cotton crops. In certain cases, they can be found destroying vegetation, such as trees and shrubbery.
The Army Cutworm Moth is considered beneficial and harmful depending on its location. For example, in some areas, its larval form helps improve soil fertility by eating dead or decaying plant matter. While in other regions, this species has been known to cause significant crop damage due to their feeding habits.
21. Arcigera Flower Moth
The Arcigera Flower Moth (Neosalicamona arcigera) is a species of moth native to western North America, stretching from British Columbia and Alberta in the north, south to northern California, and parts of Arizona. The moths are nocturnal flyers and visit flowers to feed on pollen and nectar. Adults have a wingspan of 1.2 – 2 inches, with an overlapping pattern of yellow patches on their forewings.
The hindwings of these types of moths in Arizona are camouflaged in light gray or brown. Arcigera flower moths live in dry woodlands, mixed wood forests, sagebrush steppe, and foothill canyons, providing suitable flowers for habitat and food sources. During the winter months, they may migrate farther outwards in search of optimal conditions for survival.
As larvae are not yet capable of flight, they live near the ground feasting on young vegetation such as clover foliage and grass blades until mature enough to pupate into adults. The Arcigera Flower Moth’s conservation status is the least concerning due to its wide range and high numbers throughout its habitat range. They face potential threats from agricultural land use that may destroy their habitat, as well as pesticides used in farming that drastically affect their food sources.
22. Arched Hooktip Moth
The Arched Hooktip Moth (Drepana arcuata) is a species of small to medium-sized moth found in North and South America, Europe, and parts of Africa. This moth belongs to the family Drepanidae, commonly known as ‘hooktip moths.’ The wingspan of the Arched Hooktip Moth ranges from 16-22mm, with males typically having darker wings than females.
This moth species has a distinctive angular forewing shape which gives them their common name – arched hooktip moths. The dorsal surface of their wings is generally yellowish brown or olive in coloration, while the ventral side is a pale tan or white color. Both sides display an intricately patterned design made up of bands, stripes, and spots of darker colors such as black or gray.
Arched Hooktip Moths’ larvae feed on various wildflowers, trees, and shrubs throughout the months just before summer begins. Since this species typically prefers warm temperatures for activity cycles, they are especially active during late spring and early summer in regions where temperatures remain warm year-round. These caterpillars are dark green to black in coloration, with light stripes running down their bodies from head to tail. Adult Arched Hooktips, on our list of the types of moths in Arizona, typically emerge from pupae at night during April and May in North America.
Mating takes place around dusk when females blink their forewings to attract potential mates – it usually takes about 25 minutes for males to locate a receptive female based on her wing flashes! Once mating has been completed, females will lay their eggs singly or in clutches on nearby foliage. Shortly after hatching, newly emerged caterpillars will begin to consume plant leaves until they reach maturity 6-8 weeks before they spin silk cocoons and become adults.
23. American Lappet Moth
The American Lappet Moth (Phyllodesma americana) is a species of moth belonging to the Lasiocampidae family. Native to North America, the American lappet moth is found in the eastern United States from along the Atlantic Coast, extending west as far as Kansas and Oklahoma and north into southern Canada. Adult lappet moths are identifiable by their pale buff, yellowish-brown wings with a characteristic checkered pattern.
They also have fringed antennae and long legs tussling with short body hair ranging from white to brown or reddish. The larvae of the American Lappet Moth, often referred to as “tent caterpillars’ feed on buds and leaves of a variety of deciduous tree species like apple, cherry, birch, poplar, willow, and elm. Their presence can cause serious damage to young trees as they skeletonize foliage and defoliate entire branches if populations are large enough.
The pupae are found inside hard cocoons attached by short silk strands near host plants. Adults of these particular types of moths in Arizona emerge after two weeks. The flight season for adult American lappet moths is mid-summer and lasts about six weeks through early September. During this time, females lay masses of eggs that hatch one to two weeks later, producing small larvae known as “wooly bears.”
These larvae then develop over the course of 5-6 weeks before entering a pupal stage shortly afterward. During this pupal stage, they spin silken cocoons and develop into adulthood after another two weeks before emerging in late September or October. American lappet moth control can be achieved by handpicking egg masses or creating homemade traps containing detergent.
These are placed around infested host trees, attracting adult moths looking for prey or water sources before laying eggs. Additionally, insecticidal sprays may effectively control large populations but should only be used when populations pose a significant risk to surrounding host trees. This is due to regular defoliation presenting health risks to the overall quality of tree canopy cover across forested landscapes over sustained periods of time.
24. American Dun-bar Moth
The American Dun-bar Moth (Cosmosoma myrodora) is also included in the list of the types of moths in Arizona. It belongs to the family Notodontidae and is one of the most spectacularly colored moths in this family. Native to deciduous hardwood forests from Texas to Florida, it has been reported as far north as Illinois and New York.
Its complex markings make it easy to identify; the main feature is its bright yellow abdomen with four black stripes running along it. There are also white and brown wings tipped with yellow or golden spots and a small black circle at the base of each wing. The moth, of the different types of moths in Arizona, has an average wingspan of 2 cm.
The larvae feed on oak leaves and often make webs out of them as they feed, making them easily visible against green foliage. The pupae are reddish-brown in color, attaching themselves head down under bark or stumps after pupation.
The American Dun-bar Moth has experienced a decline in population due to changes in land use, particularly in its northern regions, where it is increasingly restricted by habitat destruction linked to development, logging, and expansion of agricultural activity. As such, it has been listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List since 2019, specifically citing these threats as cause for concern over their status.
25. Afflicted Dagger Moth
The Afflicted Dagger Moth (Acronicta afflicta) is a species of moth native to North America and parts of Europe, primarily from April through October. It has grayish-brown wings with white streaks on the forewings and a “dagger-like” pattern near the center of each forewing. The caterpillars are black with yellow stripes and several conspicuous orange spots along their backs.
Afflicted Dagger Moths feed on various trees, shrubs, and other woody plants, including maple, birch, oak, willow, and apple. They are types of moths in Arizona also known to feed on herbs such as yarrow or dandelion. Their larvae may cause serious damage to crops if left unchecked as they tunnel through plant tissues in search of food.
The larvae of Afflicted Dagger Moths can be found under loose bark or in cracks in trees during the summer months. However, they are most easily spotted during their pupal stage when they cocoon themselves inside leaves or twigs, providing them with protective cover against predators.
Control methods for this species include the removal of pupae-infested foliage and pruning or removing infested branches from tree trunks before larvae have time to pupate inside them. In agricultural settings, insecticides may be advised, as well as biological control agents released to reduce populations before damage occurs.
26. Achemon Sphinx Moth
Finally, on our list of the types of moths in Arizona is the Achemon Sphinx Moth (Eumorpha achemon), a moth species classified in the family of Sphingidae. These moths are typically grayish in coloration, with white stripes along their wings and delicate antennae. Adult Achemon Sphinx Moths usually reach about two inches, but some can reach up to three inches.
They are commonly found in North America, especially east of the Rocky Mountains from Canada down through Mexico. Achemon Sphinx Moths feed on a variety of hosts, including Grapevine (Vitis), Apple (Malus sylvestris), Pawpaw (Asimina triloba), and other deciduous trees and shrubs. The adult moths consume nectar from flowers such as Milkweed, Bee Balm, Blueberry, and Butterfly Weed.
Due to its attractive coloring and small size, the Achemon Sphinx Moth has become popular among Lepidopterists or butterfly collectors worldwide. This species has also served as a study organism for many researchers interested in various aspects of Sphingidae biology due to its availability throughout the year across much of North America.
In conclusion, Arizona is home to a plethora of moth species. One common group of moths in the Southwest are those from the Microlepidoptera family, such as the Painted Moth and the Polydesmida Moth. While other species include Noctuidae Moths, Geometridae Moths, Crambidae Moths, and Pyralidae Moths.
Meanwhile, Arizona’s rare species, Bisturidion novislingue and Ficus annulicornis, are nowhere else in the United States. Ultimately, with careful observation of one’s surroundings and an understanding of moths’ unique behaviors, it is possible to classify various types of moths in Arizona correctly.