12 Common Types of Moths in Michigan

Types of Moths in Michigan
By depositphotos.com

In our article below, we have painstakingly compiled a list of the most common types of Moths in Michigan.

As you go through them, endeavor to study the features of each of them, as we believe it will help your knowledge of the animal kingdom as a whole.

Let’s get started on the list of types of Moths in Michigan.

1. Abbott’s Sphinx Moth

Abbott's Sphinx Moth
by Matt Tillett is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The elegant Abbott’s Sphinx Moth is one of the types of moths in Michigan, large enough to fit in an adult’s palm.

The majority of the moth and its wings have a deep purple hue. A thick black band crisscrosses behind the grayish cranium to resemble a collar. 

The broad abdomen is crisscrossed with gray, ivory, black, and purple bands until the end, where a three-pronged creamy white tip resembles avian feathers.

Both the wing attachment points and the underside margins are dark. 

A central swath of lighter hue is positioned in the middle. The bottom margins of the forewings and hindwings are scalloped irregularly. 

If the wings are stretched wide enough, a bright yellow flash can be seen on the top of the hindwings near the abdomen when the wings are fully extended.

Look for their adult types of moths in Michigan near nighttime lights.

2. Hickory Tussock

Hickory Tussock Moth - Types of Moths in Arizona
by Judy Gallagher is licensed under CC BY 2.0

These intriguing types of moths in Michigan lack even openings! As caterpillars, they consume tree vegetation, but as moths, they devote all of their time to mating and reproduction.

In May or June, female Hickory Tussock Moths deposit more than 100 eggs on the undersides of leaves.

When these eggs emerge, the caterpillars frequently remain in the same location for some time.

Large clusters of young caterpillars and localized defoliation may be observed.

The caterpillars of the Hickory Tussock Moth are native species that are controlled by songbirds and other predators.

In the autumn, they locate a safe location and construct a cocoon from plant detritus and their own hairs.

Like the caterpillars, the cocoons may cause skin irritation, so it is best to leave them alone. They emerge from their cocoons as insects in the spring.

3. Achemon Sphinx Moth

Achemon Sphinx Moths - Types of Moths in Florida
by J. N. Stuart is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Achemon Sphinx Moths are members of the family of hawkmoths. They are large, powerful, and swift.

This nocturnal species feeds on nectar from a variety of blooms, such as Japanese honeysuckle, phlox, and petunias. 

These types of moths in Michigan wingbeats are so rapid that they could be misconstrued as hummingbirds.

They inhabit the majority of North America and are active throughout the summer.

Adults are a light brown or tan color with symmetrical dark brown patches near the shoulders and at the center and tip of each wing.

When the smaller hindwings are spread, they disclose a bright pink hue. The legs of a furry creature are clothed in cream-colored hairs.

Even though these types of moths in Michigan are beautiful and large, their progeny are undesirable to vintners.

4. Ambiguous Moth

Ambiguous Moths
by ryan.f.mandelbaum is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Ambiguous Moths are next on our list of types of moths in Michigan.

They are small and somewhat triangular when their wings are splayed flat due to their long nose or snout.

Brown or light brown with a purple tint. Ambiguous Moths are brown or light brown in color. 

Males appear somewhat more brazen and darker than females.

Males have a straight, dark band that crosses the wings near the hairy thorax, distinguishing the lighter head and thorax from the darkest portion of the wings.

Each mewing’s base is notched and dotted with a round black mark. 

Females types of moths in Michigan lack both the dark band and the indentation.

In addition, males have a curved white dash near the wing’s outer margin.

This dash is broken into tiny pieces in females. Each corner of the forewing of both sexes has a dark, angled stain. 

Dark brown legs with white stripes at the joints and along the soles.

Larvae are either dark brown with a thin white line along the spine at the rear or muted green with pairs of black spots in each segment on the body’s top.

Narrow yellow-orange bands may be used to divide segments.

Additionally, a faint diamond-shaped pattern extends along the dorsal side. The visage is dark and has a mottled pattern. 

These types of moths in Michigan consume chrysanthemums, ragweed, and horseradish.

On the leaves of host plants, tiny transparent spherical eggs are deposited. Each year, two broods are produced.

5. American Dagger Moth

American Dagger Moth - Types of Moths in New Mexico
by Dendroica cerulea is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The American Dagger Moth, the largest of the Dagger Moths at over 50 mm (2 inches) in length, is found east of the Rocky Mountains.

It is active from early spring to early fall and inhabits deciduous-treed areas such as parks, backyards, forests, and woodlands.

Compared to its larval form, the adult may appear drab, but it is undeniably endearing in its own way.

Its wings and upper thighs are covered in hairs that are grayish-white in color. 

On the forewings, faint black lines zigzag up and down, and a thin black ring is centered near the margin of each wing.

A white band arcs along the underside of the forewings, and the undersides of the wings are fringed with a black-and-white striped pattern.

6. American Ermine Moth

American Ermine Moths
by Judy Gallagher is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The American Ermine Moth is bright white and adorned with black spots, similar to a Dalmatian.

Examining the number of dots and their arrangement can aid in distinguishing this species from others of the same genus, but the task remains challenging. 

The American Ermine Moth has more black markings than most species, which are arranged in three or four parallel lines along the forewings.

When visible, hindwings are predominantly white. The white, hairy visage contains two large, dark eyes. It has entirely white legs.

The majority of a caterpillar’s body is white, with yellow spots near the feet.

They are also covered in black spots and have a dark line running down their spine’.

These types of moths in Michigan consume running strawberry bushes, a low-growing foliage shrub that blankets the forest floor.

Additionally, they may be found on viburnum plants thriving in the wild.

Adults are active in the summer and can be located in gardens, backyards, and parks where host plants are growing.

7. Angulose Prominent Moth

Angulose Prominent Moth
by Wildreturn is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The majority of Angulose Prominent moths are brown. The thorax and portions of the extremities are covered in dense hair.

Near the shoulder joint, an orange-brown or copper-colored patch is typically a component of the severely angled lines that cross the wings. 

White or pale brown patches may also be present on the forewings.

It has a large range, encompassing much of the eastern portion of the continent, but it is not always seen.

It prefers mature forests and woodlands, where its coloring allows it to merge with oak trees.

The ‘back’ of fleshy caterpillars may be green or rosy pink color, with two stripes. They consume an abundance of oak foliage within their range.

A frightened or threatened caterpillar raises its head in a striking stance, similar to a cobra snake, but it does not bite or sting, so this behavior may be intended to confuse the threat. Each year, two or more broods can be produced.

8. Angus’ Datana Moth

Angus’ Datana Moth
by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Angus’ Datana Moth may be mistaken for desiccated, curled leaves. They are brown with thin, dark lines resembling leaf veins extending across their bodies. 

A dark, fuzzy patch of hair on top of the scalp is colored reddish-brown.

This dark patch resembles the interior shadow of a curled leaf from a distance.

This species is found on oaks, willows, and other trees, so the ability to merge with the trunk is advantageous.

These types of moths in Michigan caterpillars differ greatly in color and aspect.

Incredibly, they are the same species. The caterpillar’s cranium and neck are also black.

Bright, thin white lines extend from the crown to the tail along the entire length of the body.

Each segment of the body features tufts of white whiskers.

They feed on the leaves of apple, oak, birch, and willow trees and are found wherever these plants thrive.

9. Army Cutworm Moth

Army Cutworm Moths
by xpda is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

The caterpillar of the Army Cutworm Moth prefers to feed on all types of grasses, including crops such as immature wheat.

The grayish-brown, worm-like larvae of the Army Cutworm consume blades of cut grass and even ‘window panes’ while feasting.

This causes the plant to appear disheveled and is a nuisance for those cultivating crops. 

The caterpillars have pairs of tiny black spots along a broad, lighter ‘back’ stripe. As the caterpillar matures, long, narrow stripes form.

Their adult types of moths in Michigan are also known as Miller Moths due to the belief that their powdery appearance resembles flour in a mill. 

The light brown moth cannot tolerate frigid winters in the northern portion of its range, so during the summer, it migrates north and even higher into the mountains to feed on wildflowers.

Eggs are deposited in the warmer southern regions. 

When an area is entirely depleted of food, newly hatched larvae travel beneath the soil’s surface at night to new food sources.

Farmers monitor their fields for cutworm damage in the event that it is severe and requires management or control.

10. Ash-Tip Borer Moth

Ash-Tip Borer Moths - Types of Moths in Florida
by D. Gordon E. Robertson is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Ash-Tip Borer Moth is also on our list of types of moths in Michigan.

It has three white patches on the upper portion of each forewing. The center dot is smaller than the two peripheral ones. 

A larger, lower white mark resembles an egg with a yolk extending through its center.

Two solitary white spots are located near the furry chest. They are active at night from late summer through autumn.

Ash-Tip Borer caterpillars are a form of cutworm due to their slicing ability and worm-like body.

After hatching, they cut into the soft stems and branches of ash trees and box elder shrubs.

These types of moths in Michigan continue to feed on the host plant until pupation.

11. Bagworm Moth

Bagworm Moth - Types of Moths in New Mexico
by In Memoriam: Ecuador Megadiverso is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Bagworm Moths are a family of moths whose caterpillars construct cases from plant debris to conceal themselves.

The cases of dried plant leaves, evergreen needles, and lichen fragments are frequently observed to move on their own until a closer inspection reveals the motor driving the motion. 

The tiny, worm-like caterpillar reveals itself by extending its head and legs to advance.

When resting or threatened, it retreats shrewdly into its protective shell. Cases permit caterpillars to merge in with their surroundings while feeding. 

Additionally, it shields it from the elements. When a caterpillar is preparing to pupate, its silk helps it attach its case to branches or beams.

Depending on the species, Michigan‘s adult types of moths are either dark brown, light brown, or two-toned brown.

12. American Lappet Moth

American Lappet Moth Caterpillar
by urtica is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

This is last on our list of types of moths in Michigan. The American Lappet Moth uses its distinctive profile to create dimension to evade the notice of predators while camouflaging among dried foliage.

Additionally, the brown moth’s scalloped wing margins and lighter-colored bands aid in this endeavor. 

Some of these types of moths in Michigan have dark brown skin, while others have golden brown or tawny skin.

It is widespread across most of the continent and can be found in urban and underdeveloped regions.

In addition to roses, caterpillars feed on the foliage of alder, birch, and poplar trees. 

A lappet is a lobe or fleshy outgrowth, and the caterpillar has numerous lappets on the undersides of its body that are covered in dense filaments.

When stretched, the grayish-brown caterpillar reveals two bright orange bands between segments near its cranium. 

It resembles a tiny, short branch when the orange bands are concealed.

Two broods can be generated annually, providing numerous opportunities to observe larvae and adults.

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