Have you ever walked outside on a summer night and noticed the fuzzy shadow of a moth fluttering around your porch light?
Or caught one swimming in the water dripping from your air conditioner? You may have been intrigued by the variety of types of moths in New York.
New York is home to over 130 species of moths, ranging from small to large, that inhabit a range of habitats across the state.
In fact, there is more species diversity among New York’s moths than any other group of insects, with various shapes and sizes that all share certain traits while maintaining unique characteristics.
This article will introduce you to some interesting types of moths in New York, how to identify them, and why they are important to our ecology.
With this knowledge, you can deepen your appreciation for these often overlooked creatures while appreciating their beauty and importance to the ecosystem.
1. American Dun-Bar Moth
The American Dun-bar Moth (Cosmia calami) is a species of moths that can be encountered in the United States, including New York.
They are small to medium-sized moths with a wingspan of around half an inch and typically dark grayish-brown coloration along the edges of their wings.
The male is larger than the female and has distinctive white tufts on its wings.
These types of moths in New York are nocturnal, flying at night during the summer months, often hiding during the daytime hours or near tree trunks and rocks.
These moths’ larvae feed on bud-tip flowers, grasses, and ferns for about 4 weeks before pupating into adult moths.
During this stage in their lifecycle, they hide in dark areas such as sheds or under boards or stones to avoid sunlight; some mature larvae may travel long distances from one safe shelter to another.
They usually fly at higher altitudes, so they’re hard to spot by people on the ground.
But if monitored closely, they can be seen hovering above nearby trees at dusk or nighttime.
The American Dun-bar Moth will also often visit light sources like streetlights or windows, making them easy to observe up close in New York’s cities and suburbs.
2. Angus Moth
The Datana angusii, commonly known as the Angus moth, is one of the most common types of moths in New York.
It is a moderate-sized moth with a wingspan of roughly 3-4 cm (1.2-1.5 inches).
The front pair of wings have tan to orange tones, while the hindwings tend to have darker gray, brown, or maroon hues.
They are often known for their characteristic undulating flight patterns at twilight as they search for plants to lay their eggs on.
These moths prefer suburban landscapes to forested areas and feed mainly on plants such as oak, walnut, and cherry trees.
During springtime and summer, female Angus moths normally lay clusters of approximately 300 eggs on smooth trunks or branches of trees that eventually nourish their larvae once hatched.
In winter, adults can be seen hibernating in undisturbed sanctuaries such as houses and garages until temperatures become warmer again.
The eggs generally hatch within one to two weeks after being laid, producing light green inchworms that feast on foliage until they develop into fully matured moths several weeks later.
3. Army Cutworm Moth
The Army Cutworm Moth (Euxoa auxiliaris) is a moth found in the Northeastern United States and one of the most common types of moths in New York.
This moth species can be identified by its grayish-brown body and pale yellow stripes running vertically down its back.
The wingspan of the Army Cutworm Moth ranges from 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 inches, and the forewings are brownish with reddish-orange markings near their base.
These moths prefer grassy areas such as mountain meadows, prairies, hayfields, fields, pastures, and gardens.
Army Cutworm Moths are generally active at dusk or during night and lay eggs in clusters over grasses or grains from late spring through mid-summer.
Their larvae feed on flowers like dandelions and clover and vegetables like beans, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, carrots, peppers, and other plants like daisies and goldenrod.
Although this species does not cause significant damage to crops or landscapes in New York State.
It can still occur sporadically in agricultural areas throughout the year, causing localized damage to certain plants when conditions favor them to reproduce.
4. Barberry Geometer Moth
The Barberry Geometer Moth, also known as Coryphista meadii, is a small, day-flying moth found in New York and other northeastern United States.
The adults of these particular types of moths in New York are striking and distinct, with a wingspan of around one inch.
They have black forewings with two white curved lines and reddish-brown hindwings marked with white wedges at their outer margins.
The larvae feed on species within the barberry shrub, such as the Oregon grape and Japanese barberry.
However, they have been observed to feed on cultivated members of the plant family Berberidaceae such as Mahonia.
The adult moths are usually active during June and July when they go through mating, producing eggs to create larvae that become pupae before eventually emerging as adult moths in the spring months.
During flight, they tend to swarm together in dense populations to look for potential mates in areas large populations are often seen, including along fields, roadsides, and edges of wetlands, where barberry plants may be found.
Coryphista meadii has an important role as a pollinator for plants within its habitat since it feeds exclusively on pollen from various flowering species like daisies, coneflowers, goldenrod, and even buttercups.
This suggests that this species of the types of moths in New York is particularly important when it comes to providing much-needed agriculture benefits, especially for farmers who rely on barberry for hedgerows or ornamental plantings around commercial establishments.
5. Black-Waved Flannel Moth
The Black-waved Flannel Moth (Megalopyge crispata) is a moth found in New York and other parts of the United States.
These moths have distinctively black, white, and yellow patterns on their wings. Hence the common name, giving them an attractive appearance.
The larvae of these types of moths in New York feed primarily on oak, elm, and sassafras leaves, and when disturbed, they roll themselves up into a tight ball as a defensive posture.
Adult males boomerang back after making short flights; this behavior is known as “boomeranging” and helps them to search for potential mates.
While there isn’t much research on this species in New York, based on what we know about it elsewhere in the country.
These moths are most active from May to August, during which time they can be found in gardens and fields with suitable larval food sources.
In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, Black-waved Flannel Moths benefit humans by eating away damaging leaf-eating caterpillars that may cause damage to crops or decimate foliage in gardens.
Their numbers provide beneficial pollination services, such as helping plants reproduce, and valuable nutrition, such as nectar, that many other species of animals use for sustenance.
The adults of these types of moths in New York often come out around dusk or later depending on the temperature but can still be active if conditions are humid enough.
Because these moths are often found outside rather than inside homes, they typically pose less of a nuisance than some other species, making them ideal for gardeners who want aesthetic appeal and utility for their plants.
6. Bluish Spring Moth
The Bluish Spring Moth, or Lomographa semiclarata, is a moth native to eastern North America.
It can be found in sunny and semi-open habitats such as grasslands, wetlands, open fields, and wooded areas from the American south to as far north as New York.
These types of moths in New York have a wingspan of around 20 millimeters, comparable to other small moths in the region.
The most distinctive features of these types of moths in New York are the light blue and white coloration in both the forewings and hindwings.
Furthermore, this moth also typically displays a transparent goldfish or greenish coloration on the outermost edges of its wings.
The Bluish Spring Moth’s life cycle occurs throughout the late winter or early spring months, with adults emerging between mid-March and early May.
Larvae feed on common grasses in meadows and pastures, while adult moths feed on the pollen they obtain from plants at night using a nectar-feeding method known as “hawking.”
Although classified as a pest due to its larval feeding habits, this species does not appear to damage crops or garden vegetation significantly.
Unlike other related pest moth species such as European Corn Borers or Common Cutworms.
As such, it does not require any special control measures but instead remains fairly harmless overall, with its population controlled naturally by natural predators such as spiders and birds.
7. Cecropia Silk Moth
The Cecropia Silk Moth (Hyalophora cecropia) is one of the most iconic types of moths in New York state.
Its distinctive wingspan, which can exceed five inches in width, provide the species with an easily recognizable silhouette among other local species.
Famed for its bright coloring and large size, New Yorkers often report sightings of these impressive creatures throughout various parts of the state each summer.
Cecropias have a long life cycle and are active from late May to early August as adults, meaning they can be spotted repeatedly over several months.
During this time, they feed on nectar from various plants, including cherry, apple, and lilacs.
In addition to colorful wing patterns, female specimens produce pheromones to attract suitable mates.
After mating, eggs are laid near food sources so that larvae can feed upon hatching before spinning their cocoons in late summer or early autumn.
Fully-grown moths remain in these protective structures until they emerge the following spring.
8. Close-Banded Yellowhorn Moth
The Close-banded Yellowhorn Moth (Colocasia propinquilinea) is one of the types of moths in New York State.
This species belongs to the Noctuidae, which includes many night-flying moths often seen at dusk and around lights.
The Close-banded yellowhorn is small – with a wingspan of 28-31 mm – and has distinctive brown, black, and yellow markings on its wings.
They are most commonly found in wet areas such as swamps, ponds, or lakesides during their active time from May to September.
The caterpillars of the Close-banded yellowhorn are green with a white stripe down their back and have light tan scissor-shaped legs.
The caterpillars feed primarily on wildflowers, grasses, sedges, dock leaves, and other plants before emerging as adults in late spring or summer.
Adult moths can be seen fluttering around lights after dark and prefer to rest in sheltered spots during the day so they can avoid being seen by predators like bats and birds.
This species is particularly significant because it serves as an important food source for regional bird populations such as Orchard Orioles, Rose Breasted grosbeaks, Baltimore orioles, and Blackpoll Warblers, among others.
Thus, the Close banded Yellowhorn, one of the different types of moths in New York, plays an integral role in maintaining healthy populations of both moths and songbirds alike.
9. Clover Hayworm Moth
The Clover Hayworm Moth (Hypsopygia costalis) is a moth found in the northeastern United States, particularly in New York.
It is a medium-sized night-flying moth from the family Crambidae, with wings ranging from yellowish-brown to gray.
They have a wingspan of about 1 inch, and their bodies are covered with fuzzy fibers.
The Clover Hayworm Moth feeds primarily on clover and alfalfa leaves, utilizing its long straw-like proboscis to extract nectar and nutrients from these plants.
This species of moth has few natural predators due to its small size and flight pattern that rarely takes it far from clover fields and haystacks where it is generally found.
The Clover Hayworm Moth may be most recognizable for its white “haystack” cocoon, which female moths spin to protect their eggs while overwinter during cold winter.
These cocoons can often lie on top of tall grass stalks or fence posts along meadows parts of rural roadsides throughout New York State.
Interestingly, since 2010 there have been reports of two distinct forms of the species – one flying during spring/summer months and another only present during fall/winter months.
It’s unknown whether this division signals an underlying difference between populations or if it reflects some adaptive change unique to the lifecycle of these particular types of moths in New York State.
10. Confused Haploa Moth
The Confused Haploa Moth (Haploa confusa) is a moth native to the eastern United States, from Massachusetts and New York to Florida.
This large, gray moth is characterized by its brief appearance – it lacks any stripes or complicated patterns on its wings, instead presenting rows of small eyespots along the edges and a distinctly furry texture.
The Confused Haploa Moths, a type of moths in New York, is an important part of the native populations of moths in the state.
In particular, they play an important role in forest habitats as they feed on the foliage of certain deciduous trees, such as maples, oaks, and hickories.
They also serve as important pollinators in these areas and can be found flitting between flowers while they search for nectar sources.
In addition to providing essential ecosystem services, the Confused Haploa Moths are also popular among many amateur lepidopterists who look for them around their homes during the warmer months.
Indeed, this species has attracted the attention of scientists who have sought to learn more about its history and ecology.
For example, researchers have studied how individual moths respond to ambient temperature and light shifts during their active flight period.
The information has yielded important insights into how climate change may influence moth behavior.
All told, due to its brief appearance and ecological importance in New York forests, the Confused Haploa Moth remains one of the interesting types of moths in New York for both lepidopterists and citizen scientists alike!
11. Moonseed Moth
Moonseed Moth (Plusiodonta compressipalpis) is also one of the interesting types of moths in New York.
This type of moth has a wingspan of around 1.9 to 2.8 inches, with males having smaller wings than females.
The Moonseed Moth is gray-brown colored and has a spotted pattern on its wings, which gives it the nickname “forester moth.”
Moving on, its caterpillar is about 2 inches in size and has three stripes along its back.
It lives mainly in riparian areas but can be found in various habitats such as dry grasslands, forests, and wet meadows.
The adult Moonseed Moths are active during the day between April to October and at night during the rest of the year.
These are types of moths in New York that feed on nectar from flowers like Asteraceae, alfalfa, and asters.
The larvae feed on leaves such as willows, basswood, or cottonwood trees.
The Moonseed Moth plays an important role in maintaining healthy ecosystems since many birds rely heavily upon them as food sources for their nestlings during springtime migrations in North America.
12. Oystershell Metrea Moth
The Oystershell Metrea Moth (Cliniodes ostreonalis) is one of the most common types of moths in New York and can be found in many habitats, including wooded areas, marshy areas, agricultural fields, and urban parks.
This species has a wingspan of 1 – 1.5 inches and is easily identifiable by its distinctive creamy or yellow-brown wings marked with a dark oval spot about halfway down.
The Oystershell Metrea Moth is an important species for erosion control because its larvae feed on the leaves of shrubs such as willow and bramble, reducing their abundance so that competing vegetation can grow in their place.
Though this species is not threatened or endangered, it is important to remember that all pollinators are essential for our environment’s health.
Therefore, it is recommended to plant diverse native plants that provide food sources for these moths to help increase their populations in New York.
13. Cross-Striped Cabbageworm Moth
The Cross-striped Cabbageworm Moth (Evergestis rimosalis) is on this list of the types of moths in New York that are also found throughout North America.
They are small moths, typically about 1/2 inch long, with grayish and white striped wings.
The moth’s body is usually yellowish to light brown, with thin stripes running along the sides.
The larvae feed on cruciferous plants such as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, which explains one possible origin of the name.
This species, also one of the types of moths in New York, is considered an agricultural pest in many areas due to its feeding habits.
This insect can cause damage to crops by defoliating leaves and stunting the growth of plants and vegetables it feeds on.
In addition to causing crop damage, this species can act as a vector for various pathogens, including aphids, whiteflies, and rusts, that can attack cruciferous plants.
Some methods used to control this species include using pheromone baits or beneficial nematodes that target Evergestis rimosalis larvae specifically.
Providing adequate sanitation around plants and disposing of infested crops immediately are other ways to minimize damage from this species.
14. Dimorphic Tosale Moth
The Dimorphic Tosale Moth (Tosale oviplagalis) is a species of moth native to New York State.
These moths are found in deciduous and coniferous forests and can often be spotted resting on tree branches and foliage.
Dimorphic Tosale Moths, one of the types of moths in New York, has two distinct forms: a winged adult form and a small, larval form.
Adult moths typically feature yellow-brown wings with a pattern of black spots or stripes arranged across them, while the smaller larva stage may sport black fuzz with some faded brown or yellow stripes.
The larvae of these types of moths in New York feed exclusively on conifer needles.
Dimorphic Tosale Moths are important pollinators in New York state, as they are one of the largest nocturnal insect populations in the area.
During mating season, they congregate around light sources such as street lamps or moonlight.
Their presence helps increase biodiversity in New York’s forests by aiding pollen dispersion from nearby trees to new plant populations.
Some species of birds, such as the Eastern Wood Peewee, depend on Dimorphic Tosale Moths for their diet during breeding and winter when these moths generally become scarce.
With adequate conservation measures and proactive forest maintenance, Dimorphic Tosale Moths can continue playing an important ecological role in New York for many generations!
15. Indianmeal Moth
The Indianmeal Moth (Plodia interpunctella) is one of the most commonly found types of moths in New York.
These moths are small to medium in size and vary in color from gray to reddish-brown. Adults have wings with a characteristic coppery luster, often with a distinct dark “V” shaped pattern near the middle.
They primarily feed on grains, cereals, nuts, birdseed, pet food and other stored products as larvae or caterpillars; however, adults will visit flowers for nectar and pollen if available. Indianmeal Moth populations can rapidly increase due to their reproductive potential, leading to infestations in homes and businesses.
To prevent and control these pest populations, it is important to routinely check stored goods for food sources or signs of infestation. Then, practice good sanitation routines, seal off access points into the buildings from outside, and use an integrated pest management approach when necessary.
16. Dogwood Thyatirin Moth
The Dogwood Thyatirin Moth (Euthyatira pudens) is a rarely seen kind of moth found primarily in eastern North America, including parts of New York. It has a wingspan of about 1 – 3 inches and is distinctively marked with brown to grayish-brown mottled forewings and silvery hindwings. The moth’s caterpillar feeds on various dogwoods, including (Cornus florida), red oak (Quercus rubra), and post oak (Quercus stellata).
This species has been dispersed naturally due to its ability to fly great distances, but in some areas, it may be less common than previously thought. These particular types of moths in New York are not widely studied. However, they do receive some attention from wildlife biologists for being a part of the Dogwood tree’s pollination cycle and their unique appearance. As with all moths, the Dogwood Thyatirin Moth plays an important role in the ecosystem by contributing to biodiversity and providing food sources for many insectivorous animals like bats, spiders and certain birds.
Conservation efforts mostly focus on protecting their habitat while encouraging human activity that would not directly impact these species or their environments, such as hiking through local parks or forests. Additionally, careful management must be taken if hospitable ecosystems cannot be reintroduced near urbanized areas where commercial development has disrupted natural areas with suitable environments for these species.
17. Drab Brown Wave Moth
The Drab Brown Wave Moth (Lobocleta ossularia) is a species of moth found in the forests and grassy wetlands of New York State. This small, nondescript moth displays peculiarly-shaped streaks along its wings, giving it an unusual look and making it stand out from other moths. It has an average wingspan of around one inch, and its roundly squared body has a purple and pink halo surrounding it.
The drab greyish-brown coloring on its wings sometimes makes it almost invisible when resting on tree trunks or in vegetation. The Drab Brown Wave Moth’s main food sources are leaves, flowers, nectar, and sap from trees like linden and elm. Its mouthparts are adapted to feed on these food sources, with very limited ranges for real processing or chewing capabilities.
In addition to feeding during their adult life stages, this insect of the different types of moths in New York also lays eggs on the undersides of leaves within wooded habitats. These eggs then hatch into larvae, feeding voraciously for approximately two weeks before transforming into a pupa stage that eventually develops into the adult moth.
During this 2 week larval period, the Drab Brown Wave Moth is especially vulnerable to bird predation attempts due to its inability to actively maneuver or escape, given its limited mouthpart capability during this state. Do you wish to know more types of moths in New York? Read further!
18. Horned Spanworm Moth
The Horned Spanworm Moth (Nematocampa resistaria) is one of the many types of moths in New York. It’s an attractive species, with brownish and black markings on the wings and two horned projections that protrude from its head. This species is part of the Geometridae family and typically flies early summer through late fall.
The caterpillars feed mainly on deciduous trees such as oak, willow, birch and apple, as well as raspberries and thistles. While it can sometimes be a pest to crops or trees due to its voracious appetite for leaves, it’s also considered beneficial because it helps to regulate plant growth by preventing unchecked overgrowth in some areas. Overall, this type of moth is an interesting addition to New York’s ecosystem and contributes to the overall balance of nature in the area.
19. Pale Enargia Moth
The Pale Enargia Moth (Enargia decolor) is one of the many moth species found in New York. These moths have drab, brownish-gray wings with white edging along the veins, and their hindwings are pale yellow. They measure up to 1 inch in length, and the wingspan reaches about 2 inches.
The Pale Enargia Moth is active at night, during which time it feeds on flower nectar and pollen from various night-blooming flowers such as Evening Primroses and Moonflowers. In some regions, these types of moths in New York may also feed on plants such as tomatoes, potato vines, corn tassels, goldenrod, and dandelions. Although they’re primarily nocturnal creatures, you can sometimes spot these moths in shaded areas or hiding under leaves or rocks during the day.
20. Drexel’s Datana Moth
The Drexel’s Datana Moth (Datana drexelii) is an important moth species found in New York. This insect is characterized by its yellow and white body and conspicuous black stripes along the midline of its wings. Found mostly in deciduous forests and open woodlands, it often rests on dark-colored tree trunks or large limbs during the day, blending into them for protection from predation.
While much remains unknown about these moths, recent research has revealed that they are one of the most abundant types of moths in New York state’s northeastern region. Though small relative to other types of moths in New York, the Drexel’s Datana Moth is quite a sight to behold during late summer evenings when it takes flight. It emits a bright red flash at dusk as it expands its wings and soarings through the air in search of food sources.
Much like other Lepidoptera, such as butterflies, these moths rely primarily on flowers for their nectar needs, particularly those with purple or blue-ish hues such as clover and azalea blossoms. As summer progresses towards winter, they will seek out any remaining stems or leaves they can find as a source of nutrition until spring returns, allowing them to find their primary food again.
21. Eight-Spotted Forester Moth
The Eight-spotted Forester Moth (Alypia octomaculata) is a member of the Noctuidae family of moths. It originates from North America and is found in the east and midwest regions of the United States, with a particular prevalence in New York. This species can be identified by its white wings decorated with a series of eight symmetrical spots made up of brown, black, and cream scales.
Female moths have fewer spots than males and have an additional black spot on the outer corner of each wing. The forewing length ranges between 15mm to 18mm, making it one of the larger members of this family. The Eight-spotted Forester Moth, one of the types of moths in New York, is most often seen during spring into summer when adults are out flying around in large numbers.
Furthermore, these types of moths in New York are attracted to light sources such as porch lights, street lights, or bonfires after sunset, which is why they can be easily spotted. Its caterpillars feed on foliage from trees such as maple, oak, and other hardwood varieties commonly found in New York State’s forests.
It goes through five larval stages during its life cycle before transforming into an adult moth. It takes from four weeks to two months, depending on environmental factors like temperature and food availability. The Eight-spotted Forester Moth is important in understanding the diversity of existing moth populations throughout New York in urban and rural settings.
22. Arta Statalis
Still on this list of various types of moths in New York is the Arta statalis, a type of moth commonly found in the state. This species has mottled gray and brown forewings that are typically around 2.5 cm (1 inch) long with a wingspan of up to 5 cm (2 inches). The unusual name of this species comes from the behavior of its males, as they spend much time posturing and hovering near areas desired by the females that have been released from the cocoons.
These types of moths in New York form clusters close to the ground, typically on vegetation near shady areas or wooded areas near lakes and rivers. Arta statalis can sometimes wander in homes or other buildings if disturbed inside their habitat or when lost during mating season. Their distinctive antennae make them quite noticeable and easy to identify.
23. Fir Tussock Moth
The Fir Tussock Moth (Orgyia detrita) is one of the many types of moths in New York that can be observed in the state. The adult Fir Tussock Moth has a wingspan of about 1.4 inches in length, and it has distinctive yellow or off-white markings on its body along with tufts of hairlike fuzz growing across its wingspan. Its larvae are light brown with fiery orange spikes, which can help them blend into trees and other foliage when they feed.
In New York, the Fir Tussock Moth often takes up residence during the spring and can usually be found among evergreen firs and spruce trees. This is where they typically lay clusters of eggs along the needles or push themselves into crevices beneath bark or twigs while away from predators.
Additionally, they are considered polyphagous feeders, meaning they will happily munch away on various species of tree needles. While beneficial in some cases since their feeding helps keep vegetation healthy for future insect generations, too much feeding or wild populations can cause serious damage to a wide variety of deciduous trees and conifers in certain regions.
24. Hibiscus Leaf Caterpillar Moth
The Hibiscus Leaf Caterpillar Moth (Rusicada privata) is a type of moth found in New York as part of the Noctuidae family. It is characterized by its reddish brown and black striped wings, which have white spots along the margins, and its yellow and white markings on the thorax and abdomen. The adult beetle feeds on various plants, including hibiscus, roses, mallows, and corn.
The larvae of these types of moths in New York are commonly seen feeding on Rose of Sharon during the summer months. Male Hibiscus Leaf Caterpillar moths typically fly during the evenings, while females usually only mate once during their lifetime. This moth is relatively common in New York but can also be found throughout much of the eastern United States.
25. Four-Spotted Gluphisia Moth
Next is the Four-spotted Gluphisia Moth (Gluphisia avimacula) on this list of several types of moths in New York State. While nocturnal, these moths are relatively large and brightly colored due to their white, yellow, and brown wings. While they typically have four distinctive spots on their wings, some can have fewer or none. During the day, many camouflages into foliage or tree bark, resting until nightfall when they forage for food.
These moths primarily feed on nectar from flowers, and being active during twilight exposes them to predators such as birds looking for an easy dinner. Over time, the larvae also consume leaves and create conspicuous ‘window pane’ damage in forests due to their high population numbers. They are very interesting types of moths in New York.
Having a keen eye for the color contrast between green leaves and the pale yellowish window panes created by their chewing activity is how adult four-spotted Gluhisia moths can quickly find areas with high caterpillar activity. When not actively feeding or hiding from predators, adults often roost among tree branches or plant stalks, where they wait to be sought out as mates by other members of their species
26. Granite Moth
Granite Moth (Macaria granitata) is a species of geometer moth native to the northeast United States, including New York. These small moths measure about 1 – 1.4 cm in size and have distinctive wing patterns used for camouflage resembling granite blocks from which they receive their common name. The wings are often light brown with dark gray or black smudges scattered throughout, creating an abstract mottled pattern.
In several parts of the state, its wide range of habitats makes it one of the most abundant types of moths in New York. It can also be found in wetlands, dunes near lakes and ponds, and deciduous woods on hillsides, and it has even adapted to urban gardens! The larvae of these types of moths in New York feed on lichens and other fungi growing on trees and rocks. Their feeding behavior can lead to damage or defoliation over time, making them a potential pest species.
Fortunately, its relatively short life cycle means infestations rarely last more than two generations in any given year. This makes it easier for gardeners & farmers alike to take preventive measures before their crops get damaged by the worm-like larvae of the Granite Moth. Throughout its range, the Granite Moth offers an excellent opportunity for amateur moth enthusiasts looking for something both attractive and easy to spot!
27. Green Cutworm Moth
The Green Cutworm Moth (Anicla infecta) is a moth often found in New York. It is one of the most common types of moths in New York in this region, with its characteristic green and yellow stripes. These vibrant colors make it stand out among other moths, especially at night when they are attracted to outdoor lights.
The Green Cutworm can be found anywhere in the state but prefers woodlands, grassy meadows, gardens and roadsides. Its larvae feed on various vegetation types, including vegetables, grains and flowering plants. To identify the Green Cutwing Moth, look for its small size and vivid colors – both forewings are bright green with bright yellow spots along the coastal margin. The hind wings are pale gray-green with yellowish veins.
The caterpillars are densely covered in light brown hairs and have several dark brown stripes running lengthwise from the back to the head down their bodies. The larvae of this moth eventually reach about two inches long before pupating and emerging as adults in one or two month. This species, of the types of moths in New York has two or more generations each year depending on their environment, so they can be seen quite often during certain times of the year.
28. Gypsy moths
Gypsy moths (Lymantria dispar) are one of the most common types of moths in New York State. They typically appear between late May and July, when they can be seen fluttering around trees and vegetation, laying eggs on the underside of leaves. The larvae of these moths feed on the leaves, resulting in extensive damage to foliage throughout gardens, parks, and wooded areas.
Gypsy moths have been a major nuisance for New York homeowners since their accidental introduction from France over 100 years ago. The gypsy moth is easily distinguishable by its white body, brown markings, and characteristic feathery antennae. The female moth lays between 500 to 1000 eggs simultaneously, hatching into caterpillars within 4-9 days.
These caterpillars feed on tree leaves for several weeks before entering the pupa stage five weeks after hatching, when the larvae attach themselves to a tree or other objects with silken threads. After 14 days in this stage, the adult butterfly emerges, ready to breed again and produce more egg masses, thus continuing the cycle of infestation.
Control efforts for these types of moths in New York include introducing biological controls such as bacterial insecticides that target only gypsy moths and physical removal of egg masses by hand. Additionally, yearly applications of chemical pesticides can target adult butterflies, thus preventing them from laying more eggs while destroying existing larvae populations. Despite these efforts, gypsy moths still cause significant damage each year to many areas throughout New York, and so it remains important that residents remain vigilant against this ongoing threat and take preventative measures whenever possible.
29. Hahncappsia Moth
The Hahncappsia Moth (Hahncappsia spp.) is a species of moth native to New York State and the Northeast United States. The moths have medium-to-large wingspans categorized into various subspecies, ranging from one to four inches across, with striped or solid brown wings. They are commonly found in gardens, fields, and forests near bodies of water such as rivers, streams, and ponds due to their preference for moist habitats. Because of this, they often emerge in swarms during wetter months like spring or late summer.
These types of moths in New York usually stick close to the areas they inhabit in search of food sources and potential mates. Adult Hahncappsia feeds on pollen while larvae feast on plants such as dandelion and dock. Since this moth readily adapts to its environment, it can withstand a wide range of temperatures depending on the season.
For example, during the winter, they may enter hibernation while traversing through wooded areas looking for shelter when temperatures fall drastically. In comparison, once temperatures warm up again, they may emerge in greater numbers during peak breeding seasons throughout late summer and early fall.
30. Hemina Pinion Moth
Looking for the various types of moths in New York? The Hemina Pinion Moth (Lithophane hemina) is a species of moth found throughout the Northeastern United States, including in New York. The moth has reddish-brown or grayish-brown wings marked with darker spots and stripes, a light grey body, and clear or lightly colored legs.
Further, it prefers habitats such as meadows and gardens, where it can feed on flowering plants such as ragwort and goldenrod for nectar. As a nocturnal species, it is active at night from late spring to early fall and hides in tall grasses or under tree bark during the day.
The larvae mostly feed on the foliage of deciduous shrubs such as maple, elm, and ash trees. They create cocoons of silken threads near their food sources when ready to pupate into adult moths. Hemina Pinion Moths are important pollinators for wildflowers in meadows and help maintain the balance of nature in their ecosystems.
31. Red-Humped Oakworm Moth
The Red-humped Oakworm Moth (Symmerista canicosta) is a moth found in various parts of the United States. In New York, this type of moth is most commonly seen from late June through early August, when they emerge from cocoons as adults. The moths have pale grey wings marked with purple and yellow spots, and their bodies are reddish-orange or cream-colored.
As its name implies, the red-humped oak worm moth, one of the different types of moths in New York, feeds on oaks and other hardwood trees. These moths are an important part of New York’s ecosystem as they help maintain healthy tree populations by feeding on caterpillars and other insects that may cause damage to the trees.
They lay their eggs on oak leaves, which hatch into young larvae, which feed on oak leaf tissue before pupating into adult moths. While these moths are most commonly active during the summer, some individuals may remain near tree trunks or leaf litter during winter. This is to hibernate until springtime, when they will begin their summer migration patterns.
32. Skiff Moths
Of the types of moths in New York, Skiff moths (Prolimacodes badia) are a type of moth found in the Eastern United States. These moths are unique because they possess a long, slender proboscis (an elongated ingestion organ used for drinking nectar and other liquids). This proboscis is used to feed on dew from the plants and flowers Skiff moths typically inhabit, such as those of maples and witch hazels.
The small size of the moths – spanning 1.5 to 2 cm – gives them a tremendous advantage when searching for potential food sources. In addition to their distinctive eating habits, Skiff Moths also serve a beneficial role in helping to pollinate certain plant species. These vital insects feed primarily on pollen grains while visiting flower blooms during the night when they become active, aiding in the transfer of pollen between different flowers.
In New York, more than a hundred species of skiff moth can be identified by experts specializing in Lepidoptera. They normally appear during summertime, often seen flitting around fields or perched atop tall tree branches during daylight hours. They may go unseen due to their dark brown or grayish coloration, allowing them greater camouflage amongst their surrounding foliage. All in all, they are also on this list of the types of moths in New York!
33. Somber Carpet Moth
The Somber Carpet Moth (Disclisioprocta stellata) is a species of moth found in the eastern United States, from Maine to North Carolina. This species has a wingspan of 1-1.67 inches and is usually light brown with small dark lines along the wing edges. The larvae are active in New York State during the late summer and early fall months, where they feed on grasses such as brome, rye, bluegrasses, timothy, and wild oats.
Adults of these types of moths in New York are attracted to lights at night and can be observed hovering around artificial lights placed outdoors or near windows during late evening hours. Somber carpet moths can cause damage to crops if their populations become too abundant in certain areas throughout New York State. They feed on pasture grasses such as those mentioned earlier but can also consume alfalfa and clovers commonly used for livestock feed.
As larvae, they chew through stems, creating holes that weaken plant structure. At the same time, adult somber carpet moths feed on nectar taken from various flowers in gardens and nearby fields, which could reduce any pollination benefits of these plants. Despite this, Somber Carpet moths play an important role in maintaining biodiversity by providing food sources for other insect predators like the Atlantic Cities skipper butterfly (Euphyes arthron).
34. Thin-Winged Owlet Moth
As we approach the end of this list of the types of moths in New York, the thin-winged owlet moth (Nigetia formosalis) is a common type of moth found throughout New York. This small nocturnal insect has a wingspan of around one and a half inches, with distinctive white stripes running along the outer edges of its wings. Its body is often described as “furry” because of its thick, woolly hair coat.
The moth’s large black eyes and its colorful pattern across its wings make it easier to hide among foliage and other natural surroundings during the day – when it sleeps – and during nightfall – when it flies to look for food. The Thin-winged Owlet Moth mainly feeds on flower nectar and is found in gardens and open meadows, particularly near urban areas with abundant light sources, such as street lamps. Such lights attract moths that feed on the sweet nectar from nearby flowers.
Like many other moths in New York, this species plays an important role in providing pollination services for plants native to New York by transporting pollen from flower to flower as they feed on nectar. Furthermore, being a powerful predator helps maintain a balance between insect populations within the ecosystem.
35. Waved Sphinx Moth
The Waved Sphinx Moth is found in New York and other nearby states, including Connecticut and Massachusetts. The moth has a distinctive appearance with thickly veined wings that are light tan or grey, with wavy lines running through them. Its body is yellowish-brown, and its antennae have short tufts at the ends.
Adults of these particular types of moths in New York feed on the nectar of flowers, although they often lay eggs on tree leaves and even wooden structures like furniture. The Waved Sphinx Moth is an important pollinator in urban and rural environments in the northeastern United States, particularly for plants such as basswood, serviceberry, viburnum, hawthorn and cedar. For these reasons, it is important to maintain healthy populations of this species to preserve local ecosystems.
To this end, it is recommended that gardeners and outdoor enthusiasts avoid using chemical pesticides, which can disrupt nearby larvae populations. Instead, native flowering plants should be planted nearby so that adult moths can feed on their nectar while encouraging the successful propagation of their young. This winds up our list of the types of moths in New York!
In conclusion, there are over 160 species of moths found in New York State. Moth species range from small micro-moths to giant silkworm moths, typically classified by color and size according to the Hodges system. Various predatory and parasitic species coexist with their conspecifics in various habitats around the state.
Populations of some moth species, such as the invasive gypsy moth and fall webworm, can be damaging to certain trees when present in large enough numbers or spread over a larger area. Several excellent field guides are available for purchase or online consultation for those interested in learning about and observing these unique animals. We are sure that the above list of the different types of moths in New York helped!