29 Types of Moths in Kentucky

Types of Moths in Kentucky
Photo by Erik Karits

Have you ever wondered about the types of moths in Kentucky? Kentucky is home to many diverse habitats, resulting in abundant life.

With such a large selection of species that inhabit the area, it can be hard to keep track of all the different kinds. 

Moths are one particularly fascinating group of organisms found throughout Kentucky.

These nocturnal insects come in various shapes, sizes, and colors and serve an important environmental purpose.

In this article, we will discuss some of the most common types of moths in Kentucky and how to identify them.

1. Abbott’s Sphinx Moth

The Abbott’s Sphinx Moth (Sphecodina abbottii) is the first on our list of the types of moths in Kentucky, found mostly in the eastern United States.

It has the highest population in Kentucky and Tennessee, where they prefer open fields and meadows.

The Eumorpha sp. complex comprises several closely related species, including S. abbottii, widely occurring in these two regions. 

A full-grown Abbott’s Sphinx Moth typically measures about 1 to 2 inches (2.5-5 cm) in wingspan.

It has a camouflaged body ranging from brownish to grayish along its dorsal side, providing camouflage against vegetation and moths’ predators.

Being nocturnal like most other moths, these insects are primarily active during the twilight hours when temperatures are moderate enough to fly and hunt for food sources, mostly nectars found in flower blooms from nearby plants lilac syringa or kales brassicas. 

Males of these types of moths in Kentucky can be identified by their feathery antennae, which help them detect female mates while flying around.

There’s also a darker or brighter shade on their upperside forewings compared to females, which could appear almost uniform drab olive coloration. 

Although many species of the Sphecode genus have similar characteristics and behaviors as Abbott’s Sphinx Moth.

This species has proven abundant in the late summer when adult specimens look for medium-sized flowers across Kentucky meadows.

They feed on their sweet nectars all through the day until their eggs are mature enough to hatch, beginning a new generation cycle.

2. Iron-lined Olethreutes Moth

The Iron-lined Olethreutes Moth (Olethreutes ferrolineana) is one of the types of moths in Kentucky.

This small, delicate species has white, iridescent wings marked with faint yellowish stripes and lines.

The front wings have three distinct dark veins at their tips, while the hind wings are slightly paler and less clearly marked. 

These moths can be found in Kentucky’s woodlands, meadows, grasslands, and agricultural areas.

They feed on various plants, including wild roses, daisies, and various types of grass.

These moths are active from May to August each year, laying their eggs between leaves or stems. 

The larvae of these moths feed on the foliage of their host plant until they develop into pupae, where they remain for up to two months before emerging as adult moths.

The Iron-lined Olethreutes Moth is an important species for agriculture in Kentucky—it aids in the natural control of pest populations and helps pollinate plants in the area.

3. Adjutant Wainscot Moth

The Adjutant Wainscot Moth (Leucania adjuta) is third on this list of the different types of moths in Kentucky and most other states in the United States.

It is an attractive large gray and yellow moth with a wingspan of approximately 2-2.5 inches. The wings are pale yellow with black bands, while the body is dark gray with bold white spots. 

This particular species of the types of moths in Kentucky feed primarily on grasses, but it can also feed on some other small plants.

During the day, they will stay hidden, often among dense foliage or long grass to avoid predators; however, at night, they may be spotted fluttering around light sources as they search for mates.

The Adjutant Wainscot Moth is particularly noteworthy because it has adapted to live in various habitats across Kentucky depending on its particular region. 

In some areas, the larval stage occurs in the ground, whereas in others, it can be found living higher up, such as in peach tree buds or hemlock branches.

As its larvae grow, it changes color from brown to light green, which matches many kinds of vegetation, allowing them to hide better from predators such as birds and lizards.

Once fully grown, its pupa will usually last through the winter months before hatching into an adult moth in early spring when temperatures begin to rise again.

4. Lesser Maple Spanworm Moth

The Lesser Maple Spanworm Moth (Speranza pustularia) is native to Kentucky and can often be found in wooded deciduous forests, particularly ones with maple trees.

The adult moths are cream-colored or yellowish with dark brown stripes, while their larvae are bluish-green or pale yellow and have small black spots.

The larvae feed mainly on the underside of maple leaves, typically near the tips of the tree branches. 

These are types of moths in Kentucky that can cause damage to both young and mature trees by chewing away at the undersides of leaves which can affect both photosynthesis activity and structural integrity.

In some cases, infestations of these moths can cause serious long-term damage to larger trees if left untreated with pesticides or other methods.

Fortunately, this pest is usually easy to spot and treat due to its distinctive coloring and behavior.

5. Magdalen Underwing Moth

The Magdalen Underwing Moth (Catocala Illecta) is also one of the common types of moths in Kentucky.

This species can be identified by its reddish-brown wings with a distinctive yellow patch near the middle.

The hindwings of this moth are bright yellow, with large black markings towards the margin.

The caterpillar of this species feeds primarily on oaks and birches, as well as occasionally elm, willow, and maple trees. 

Adults of these particular types of moths in Kentucky are active at night, usually between late May and August.

These moths can often be found in wooded areas near rivers or streams and can also be found in open meadows away from water sources.

In Kentucky, this species is uncommonly rare in northern parts of the state, such as along the Ohio River basin, but more common south toward southern counties such as Pulaski and Christian.

6. Ambiguous Moth

If you want to know the various types of moths in Kentucky, the Ambiguous Moth (Lascoria ambigualis) is a moth species in the state.

These moths can be best identified by their white forewings and gray hind wings, typically fringed with black spots on the edges.

The Ambiguous Moth’s body is mainly gray but has mottled dark brown markings across its wings. 

A closer look may also reveal pinkish-orange patches in certain areas and fine hairs along the abdominal region.

The adult Ambiguous Moths have a wingspan of approximately 1 inch and are most active during mid to late summer months.

They can generally be seen around late June to early August, frequenting grassy fields and meadows in search of food sources such as low-growing flowering plants. 

In addition to these food sources, Ambiguous Moths sometimes feed on rotting fruits or tree sap oozing from bark crevices for an extra nutritional boost.

Fortunately for humans living in Kentucky who encounter this species, these types of moths in Kentucky pose no threat since they neither bite nor sting humans, serving only as interesting backyard spectators instead!

7. Hagen’s Sphinx Moth

Hagen’s Sphinx Moth (Ceratomia hageni) is a species native to Kentucky and can be found throughout the Eastern United States.

Like the hummingbird, as with other sphinx moths, they pay special regard thanks to their ability to hover in flight.

The adult moth has an intricate grey-brown patterned wingspan of 36–40 mm, with reddish-orange markings near its head and hindwings. 

While both males and females have similar wingspans, the female variations have yellow antennae tips compared to the male’s black antennae tips with white bands.

In Kentucky, Hagen’s Sphinx Moth can be observed primarily between May through August during flower opening times of daylilies and related host plants such as Coreopsis lanceolate.

During nighttime hours, these types of moths in Kentucky are attracted to flowers by scents emitted from certain compounds released from petals or bodies of fragrant flowers, where they feed on floral nectar for sustenance.

8. Herald Moth

The Herald Moth (Scoliopteryx libatrix) is a species of moth commonly found in the US state of Kentucky.

This species has a wingspan that ranges from one and a half to two inches, and its body is light yellowish-brown, with black spots covering most of its wings.

It is often seen in wooded areas during the summer months of July and August when it emerges from its pupal stage, where it spent the winter before. 

This species can be found throughout much of Kentucky but is particularly common in areas near rivers, wetlands, and forests.

The herald moth, one of the types of moths in Kentucky, feeds on leaves on Willow trees which make up much of the vegetation along riverbanks, lakesides, and other wetland habitats.

The larvae will also feed on flowering plants such as Red Clover and other legumes found in many fields and meadows throughout Kentucky.

9. Northern Eudeilinia Moth

The Northern Eudeilinia Moth (Eudeilinia herminiata) is not left out of Kentucky’s list of the different types of moths.

This species can be identified by its mottled grayish-brown wings and black-spotted yellow abdomen.

Although not very common in the state, they can be found in moist woodland and grassy meadows. 

The bright green caterpillars feed on various plants, including gooseberries, goldenrods, jewelweed, and others.

They pupate into adulthood in the summer and fly around until late fall when they die off. 

Northern Eudeilinia Moths play an important role in maintaining balance in the local ecosystems by pollinating plants and serving prey for many predators such as birds or spiders.

Thus it’s important to protect their habitats from destruction to ensure a healthier environment for the species and other creatures that depend on it.

10. Obtuse Euchlaena Moth

The Obtuse Euchlaena Moth (Euchlaena obtusaria) is a moth found in northern Kentucky and other North America.

They have a wingspan of about 2 cm and are light gray to olive green, with darker shoulder patches and streaks on their forewings.

This species is commonly found near wooded areas and areas with lots of foliage, feeding mainly on leaves from trees like oak, elm, hickory, walnut, and willow. 

The Obtuse Euchlaena Moth is considered one of the more common types of moths in Kentucky because it can be easily spotted near its preferred habitats.

Its caterpillars feed primarily on hardwood trees like maple and tulip poplar and tend to overwinter inside these trees until they can transition into adult moths in the springtime.

11. Pandorus Sphinx Moth

The Pandorus Sphinx Moth (Eumorpha pandorus) is a common sight in Kentucky from late May to early August.

This moth is large with a wingspan of 1.5-3 inches and has distinct beige and brown stripes on its wings that are reminiscent of tiger stripes.

The larvae of the Pandorus Sphinx Moth feed voraciously upon different species of plants, such as grape vines, apple trees, and maple trees.

Adults of these types of moths in Kentucky feed on nectar given off by summer flower blooms.

With its preference for warm climates, the population of this moth increases during warmer months in Kentucky when it migrates here from other states, particularly those located further south.

Generally following small habitats away from humans, some people can find these moths near urban areas such as parks and gardens, where their preferred food sources are more plentiful than areas further away from human interference.

12. American Dagger Moth

The American Dagger Moth (Acronicta americana) is a type of moth found in the state of Kentucky.

These moths are medium to large, with a wingspan of approximately 50-80 mm and gray-brown coloration.

The American Dagger Moth’s thorax and head region are pale grayish brown, while its abdomen and legs are black. 

The male American Dagger Moth has three dark stripes on each wing that contrast against the paler background color.

These stripes can appear reddish or white depending on how much sunlight they receive.

Females of these types of moths in Kentucky do not have these stripes but may occasionally have darker markings near their hind wings. 

The larvae of the American Dagger Moth are bright green and feed voraciously on plants like maples, elms, oaks, poplars, willows, birches, and roses, among many others.

They can be commonly seen between June and August in the spring and summer as they pupate into adult moths that fly from evening to morning before laying eggs. 

Since the larvae are highly destructive to vegetation by feeding off them extensively, particularly when condensing in large numbers.

Gardeners have been known to spray insecticides or use lacewings as natural predators to remove them from gardens wherever present.

Overall, it is one of Kentucky’s very destructive types of moths.

13. Red Groundling Moth

The Red Groundling Moth (Perigea xanthioides) is a species of moth found throughout many parts of the United States, including Kentucky.

With its bright red-orange coloration and wingspan ranging from 10 to 18 mm, it is one of the most recognizable types of moths in Kentucky encountered in the state.

The larval form of this species prefers areas with sparse understory vegetation and can be seen during early summer on low bushes or trees along roadsides and open glades. 

These caterpillars are most active at night, feeding on foliage and hiding in places out of sight during the day.

As adults, Red Groundling Moths do not feed but instead use their short-lived lives to mate and lay eggs for future generations.

Given its abundance in Kentucky, this species plays a key role in local ecosystems by providing vital nutrition for predators such as spiders or other insectivores.

Additionally, its colorful appearance provides an interesting aesthetic for people admiring Kentucky’s beautiful scenery.

14. Gold Moth

The Gold Moth, or Basilodes pepita, is a species of owlet moth native to Kentucky.

This distinctive insect has a wingspan of roughly 1.2 to 1.8 inches and is marked with yellow-orange wings with striking black lines and white spots.

It’s smaller than most other moths in the area, and its body tends to curve near the middle when it rests. 

In addition, its antennae feature a unique tassel-like shape, adding to its alluring appearance.

The Gold Moth can be found in nearly every region of Kentucky, and their habitat preference includes urban areas and some natural environments.

They tend to live among grasses and tall weeds around houses, fields, and woods, where they will feed on blossoms of members of the daisy family, like goldenrods and sunflowers, during the daytime. 

In colder months, these moths in Kentucky hibernate until warmer temperatures appear when they become more active across the landscape seeking pollen for sustenance.

Due to their small size and nocturnal behavior, sightings are relatively rare, but lucky viewers can appreciate these unique creatures before they disappear into the night.

15. Army Cutworm Moth

The Army Cutworm Moth (Euxoa auxiliaris) is a moth found in Kentucky.

This type of moth has mottled tan-colored wings with a two-toned pattern. The upper part of the wing is light, and there are small white dots along the veins. 

The lower part of the wing is darker, and a narrow, dark band may dance along its outer margins.

These types of moths in Kentucky have a body length between 3 to 5 cm, with males slightly smaller than females.

This moth species prefers wooded habitats, grasslands, and pastures and favors places that are well-lit at night. 

They typically feed on flower buds, leaves, and some insects during the day, but only when temperatures rise about 20 degrees Celsius or more for extended periods.

At night, these moths can be found attracted to pheromone traps set up by researchers to monitor activity levels. 

Adult Army cutworm moths, which are types of moths in Kentucky, produce one generation per year, while larvae can cause damage to silage crops if they aren’t properly managed during their larval stage.

The damage they cause can drastically reduce livestock yields due to feeding on leaves and other foliage items.

16. Banded Tussock Moth

The Banded Tussock Moth (Halysidota tessellaris) is a species of moth found in Kentucky, which belongs to the subfamily Erebidae and the family Arctiidae.

This species is typically seen during July and August when they come out of hibernation.

Adults of this species have a 24-37mm wingspan, while their forewing coloration ranges from yellowish green to white with black speckles. 

The hindwings are usually white or light gray with a distinct pale yellow stripe along the outer margin.

The larvae of this species on our list of the various types of moths in Kentucky can often be identified due to their distinctive appearance.

They have black heads; each segment along the body is bright green with yellow stripes extending down their backside and tail. 

These caterpillars feed on various leafy plants, including oak, maple, and sumac trees.

Ultimately, they will form cocoons in June or July before emerging as mature adults in the late summer and early autumn months.

Although it does not threaten humans, it can cause severe defoliation if enough moths inhabit an area.

17. Black Bit Moth

The Black Bit Moth (Celiptera frustulum) is a species of moth found in Kentucky and other areas of the Midwest.

This species belongs to the Noctuidae, commonly known as ‘owlet moths or ‘cutworm moths.’

The Black Bit Moth has a wingspan of about 26-44mm, with their wings orange-brown in color. Females have a more yellowish-brown shade, while males are darker. 

Furthermore, the moth’s body is dark brown to black above and has distinctive silver-white spots below.

It is a solitary species and is most often seen flying close to shrubs or around head height on dry, sunny days during late April and May across Kentucky.

Its larvae feed on grasses in fields, meadows, roadsides, and gardens but sometimes attack vegetables such as corn and potatoes. 

Common predators of these types of moths in Kentucky include spiders, birds such as American Robins, and wasps that parasitize the larvae.

To protect themselves from predators and parasites, the larvae form protective shelters by rolling up leaves with silken threads strong enough to slow down even an insect predator like a ladybug.

In turn, it provides food for many other species, including some reptile species that hunt adult moths when flying near shrubs at night.

18. Black-Blotched Prominent Moth

The Black-Blotched Prominent Moth (Schizura leptinoides) is not excluded from this list of the commonly found types of moths in Kentucky, United States.

It is a member of the Notodontidae family and is native to North America.

The adults are usually bright orange-red and have a prominent lobed antennae on their heads. 

They can range from 1.5 to 2.5 inches in size and have black blotches along their wings that extend outward from the top edge.

The larvae of the Black-Blotched Prominent Moth feed mainly on oak leaves, although they also feed on other hardwood trees such as maples and birches.

The larvae are dark yellowish or grayish green with tan stripes running along the sides of their body and have short black bristles scattered across them. 

Like most moth larvae, they make distinctive “skeletonizing” damage patterns to the leaves they eat by consuming only the tissue between the veins while leaving the major veins intact.

To complete their life cycle, adults usually fly during April or May but may also be seen in October under favorable conditions.

19. Bold Medicine Moth

The Bold Medicine Moth (Chrysendeton medicinalis), also known as the Kentucky Medicine Moth, can be found in Kentucky.

This moth is a member of the family Noctuidae, which comprises largely nocturnal moths with drab colors and complex patterns on their wings.

It is believed to have evolved from the European species Cucullia medicaginis and was first described in 1866 by Edward Newall Doutt.

It is one of the most invasive types of moths in Kentucky. It is a pest species because it feeds on clover, alfalfa, chicory, and other crops in Central Europe and North America.

The moth has distinctive yellow dots along its pale yellow longitudinal stripes on its forewings and hind wings.

Its larvae are found incredibly difficult to recognize due to their appearance similar to other closely related moths that feed on clovers.

The Bold Medicine Moth can reach wingspans between 2-3 cm when fully mature and favors habitats such as meadows, fields, and gardens during the warmer months of spring through summer.

It usually lays its small creamy white eggs near host plants so that the hatching larvae can immediately access food.

Depending on temperature conditions, the larval stage lasts two weeks and two months before pupating into an adult moth. 

During this period, they also become good predators of certain pest insects but, in large numbers, can cause damage to crops if left unchecked.

After developing into adults, these types of moths in Kentucky will fly away in search of food during the night while resting during the day under leaves or twigs.

This is where it is cooler until night falls again, where the cycle repeats itself once more until winter arrives or the moth’s life span ends.

20. Carrot Seed Moth

The Carrot Seed Moth (Sitochroa palealis) is a species of moths commonly found in Kentucky.

These small, light-brown moths are most active during the spring and summer months and can be seen fluttering around vegetable gardens across the state.

The larvae of the Carrot Seed Moth feed on the leaves and root systems of various vegetables like carrots, parsnips, celery, and turnips. 

Meanwhile, these particular types of moths in Kentucky can cause extensive damage to these valuable crops if not controlled properly.

Even young seedlings can be eaten away by these ravenous pests.

The good news is that Carrot Seed Moths aren’t hard to spot compared to other crop-damaging insects, nor are they hard to control. 

Handpicking them from garden beds at night or using sprays or traps designed for moths are all effective ways of keeping infestations from getting out of hand.

Planting companion flowers around crops such as dill and coriander that contain natural insect-deterring compounds is also beneficial for controlling these moths without using chemicals.

Proper management techniques can limit the damage caused by this troublesome pest while protecting vital crop plants in Kentucky gardens.

21. Ceanothus Silkmoth

The Ceanothus Silkmoth, or Hyalophora euryalus, is a species of moth found in the Appalachia region of Kentucky.

It has distinctive white wings that span up to four inches in width and have creamy-yellow tips along the outer edges.

This moth also features a distinct reddish-brown body with yellow spots on the head and abdomen. 

They feed exclusively on Appalachian serviceberry blossoms, making them one of the few types of moths in Kentucky that rely solely on one plant for sustenance.

This species is especially active when its host plants bloom in the spring and summer.

Seeing them out in nature during this time is relatively common among observers throughout Kentucky and its surrounding states. 

Unfortunately, human development and increased temperatures due to climate change have put considerable strain on their populations.

They struggle to survive in fragmented habitats where food sources may not be as plentiful.

Conservation efforts must be taken to ensure the long-term survival of this unique species and preserve the amazing biodiversity of this region of Kentucky.

22. Fir Tussock Moth

The Fir Tussock Moth (Orgyia detrita), also known as the Douglas fir tussock moth, is native to various parts of the United States and Canada.

Within the US, it can also be found in states such as California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

It has also been found naturalized in many areas throughout Kentucky.

The insect on our list of the types of moths in Kentucky typically inhabits coniferous forests consisting mainly of Douglas fir trees.

This distinctive moth species is generally around 2/3 inch long with light brown or tan wings marked by small yellow spots.

The head sports tufts of brown or black hair-like scales and orange or yellowish-colored antennae. 

Female moths tend to feature a more white or silvery appearance due to their larger size and lack of wings.

In addition to its distinct appearance, an interesting behavior unique to this species is that eggs are laid either singly or in groups on needles of host plants; larvae then feed briefly before pupating. 

Activity peaks during mid/late summer when adults become most active as they flutter about searching for mates.

Kentucky residents who discover these fascinating critters in their vicinity should consider consulting a professional pest control service.

These moths may ultimately damage trees in large numbers if not addressed promptly.

23. Giant Leopard Moth

The Giant Leopard Moth (Hypercompe scribonia) is one of the largest and most colorful types of moths in Kentucky.

It is often mistaken for a butterfly due to its bright and distinctive patterned wings, predominantly yellow and black, with white stripes along the margins.

Their wingspan can range from 2-4 inches depending on gender, with males typically smaller than females. 

This species can be found in deciduous woodlands and near streams or ponds.

They prefer high-humidity areas but thrive in meadows and gardens containing their preferred food source, nettles and other low-growing weeds.

During the day, they rest on tree trunks in shady areas to avoid predators. 

At night they become active, using their long “ears” – tentacle-like appendages located between their eyes – to help them find food sources by sensing disturbances in air currents created by other insects or animals moving nearby.

This species will migrate southward to spend winter months away from cold temperatures in autumn.

24. Cherry Scallop Shell Moth

The Cherry Scallop Shell Moth (Rheumaptera prunivorata) is a species of moth native to Kentucky.

It is easily identified by its bright pink and purple coloring and distinctive shell-like pattern on its wings.

This species prefers moist, shaded habitats with lots of vegetation and can be found in various forested areas throughout the state. 

Although their caterpillars feed solely on cherry leaves, these moths in Kentucky pollinate various plants because they are active day and night.

These moths have an extremely long lifespan–up to eight years–which allows them to survive a variety of weather patterns, including cold winters.

When temperatures drop below freezing, they hibernate by burrowing underground or attaching themselves to foliage to stay protected from the cold temperatures until springtime. 

During this time, it’s not uncommon for them to enter homes in search of warmth.

Additionally, due to their long lifespan, Cherry Scallop Shell Moths, as types of moths in Kentucky, can build up substantial populations over time.

This can benefit local ecosystems as their larvae provide valuable nutrition for other wildlife, such as birds and small mammals.

25. Dart Moth

Next up on this list of several types of moths in Kentucky is the Dart Moth (Agnorisma bolii).

It is a small, seasonal, night-flying moth that prefers to be active during the warmer months of spring and summer.

The moths have whitish to pale green wings, and their bodies are dark brown with white stripes, giving them an interesting and unique look. 

They typically have a wingspan of around an inch or two, depending on the insect’s age.

The Dart Moth is an important part of Kentucky’s ecosystem as they often act as pollinators for flowers and other plants.

They feed on nectar from various blossoms during their short life cycle, which often only lasts 1-3 weeks before they die off. 

While they do not cause any direct harm to humans or animals, Dart Moths can occasionally become a nuisance if attracted to lights inside people’s homes or other brightly lit areas outside at night.

Despite their brief lives and seemingly tiny size, these moths are important in maintaining biodiversity within Kentucky’s forests and meadows.

26. Definite Tussock Moth

The Definite Tussock Moth (Orgyia definita) is one of the very common types of moths in Kentucky.

This insect can be identified by its distinctive white, black, and orange tufts. In addition to these features, the caterpillars are furry and have three pairs of legs. 

The Definite Tussock Moth is a pest species because its caterpillars can defoliate plants by consuming their leaves.

These insects, on our list of the types of moths in Kentucky, feed on various types of shrubs, trees, and other woody plants found in the state.

It has been observed that female moths selectively choose oak trees for egg-laying purposes, making them susceptible to potential damage from this pest species. 

Definite Tussock Moths primarily cause damage to oak trees in mid-summer when populations are at their peak.

Early detection and intervention of this species are crucial for preventing or limiting the damages caused by this pest population in Kentucky.

If infestations become especially severe, pesticides may be necessary to control their numbers and restore damaged foliage. 

Alternatively, methods such as pruning affected branches or using light traps can minimize the population sizes of Definite Tussock Moths without relying on chemical treatments.

Additionally, it is recommended to keep an eye out during midsummer months since most activity tends to occur in that time frame when caterpillars are emerging from eggs laid during springtime.

27. Discolored Renia Moth

The Discolored Renia Moth (Renia discoloralis) is a species of moth found in the state of Kentucky.

It lives in most regions of the state. It can be seen in deciduous forests, agricultural fields, and grassy habitats where it prefers habitat with abundant clover, but also poplar, Forbes, oak, apples, and other woody plants may be available.

This species is typically white with dark brown markings on its wings that give it distinct discoloration; its forewings are usually olive in color and characterized by a pale subterminal line across both wings.  

The Discolored Renia Moth, one of the various types of moths in Kentucky, has been known to feed on various plants around the state.

Both adults and larvae will feed on clover, their preferred food source for survival. In addition, the larvae feed on other plant materials, such as oak leaves and apple trees. 

Adults generally appear from late spring through early autumn and lay eggs in or near larval food sources until October; during this period, they go through two or three generations per year.

Since this species is specific to Kentucky, it is important to note they have no major conservation threats.

However, they should continue to be monitored due to their potential seasonal fluctuation of abundance and potential pressures caused by land use changes.

28. Eyed Paectes Moth

The Eyed Paectes Moth (Paectes oculatrix) is a moth species found in the Eastern United States, particularly in Kentucky.

Of the different types of moths in Kentucky, this moth has distinctive eyespots and orange-yellow body coloring on its wings.

This species is considered endangered in Kentucky due to habitat destruction and over-collection by collectors. 

Moreso, it is best found in areas with sandy soil, which means it needs an open canopy of trees so that sunlight can penetrate through.

To protect this species, conservation efforts are underway in Kentucky by the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

These include monitoring populations, protecting existing habitats, propagating new habitats, and restoring natural areas impacted by deforestation. 

Because of these efforts, the population of these moths has been slowly increasing since 2019, when their numbers were at an all-time low due to deforestation and human activities.

Studies have also shown that restoration projects can help significantly reverse population declines if managed properly when undertaken collectively within broader landscapes.

These types of moths in Kentucky play an important role in helping pollinate plants used for wildlife food sources.

They are vital for maintaining a healthy ecological balance within their habitat range.

29. Salt-and-Pepper Looper Moth

The Salt-and-pepper Looper Moth (Syngrapha rectangula) is a common moth species in Kentucky.

This species has a 1.2 to 1.7 inches wingspan, and its larvae can usually be seen crawling on the ground or shrubbery.

The adults are gray and white with bold, black markings on their dorsal side and can often be found flying around at night in search of food sources such as flowers and small insects. 

The Salt-and-pepper Looper Moth prefers areas with hardwood forests and open meadows, where they are likely to find nectar sources.

They generally appear during the late summer and fall months, making them an ideal prey source for birds like falcons and hawks searching for food during this season.

They are one of the few types of moths in Kentucky that may still emerge from hibernation during warmer winters due to their high cold resistance. 

These robust moths lay clusters of eggs on bark or leaves near their favored habitats, using them as shelter later in life.

With a good sense of smell that allows them to find food quickly, these moths play an important role in pollination, allowing plants to propagate faster!

They wrap up our list of the different types of moths in Kentucky!


There are a variety of different types of moths in Kentucky. There are both woodland species and open-habitat species, as well as day-flying and night-flying varieties.

The majority of these moths are micro and macro lepidoptera, with many belonging to the family Noctuidae. 

Their numbers can vary yearly depending on weather and other environmental conditions, but they all play an important role in the food chains of their respective habitats.

By being aware of these species and conserving their habitat, we can help protect these unique creatures for future generations.

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