22 Different Types of Moths in Ohio

types of moths in ohio
Photo by Jaime Dantas

Moths may be the unsung heroes of the bug world. They are a little-known insect doing important work, but which types of moths in Ohio occur here? Anyway, many people don’t pay much attention to moths. 

But these insects contribute to pollination, healing plants damaged by natural predators, or eating harmful bugs or fungi.

For example, the cecropia moth, Ohio’s largest moth species found throughout much of North America and Europe, is often used to study how moths and their caterpillars affect plant health.

Ohio is home to over 500 species of moths – some common while others are rare – so it can be hard to tell which ones you’re encountering during your hikes or night walks.

To help guide your observation and appreciation for these important insects, this article covers some of the most commonly occurring types of moths in Ohio with details about each butterfly’s habitat, traits, and behaviors.

1. Abbott’s Sphinx Moth

The Abbott’s Sphinx Moth (Sphecodina abbottii) is a species of moth native to North America that belongs to the Sphingidae family of moths. The moth is characterized by its long body and pointed wings, with the hindwings being larger than the front wings. Its wingspan can reach up to 6 cm (2.4 in). This starts off our list of the types of moths in Ohio.

The upper part of the forewings is whitish, with dark lines running through it, creating a pattern, while the hindwings vary from light reddish-brown to gray. This moth species is most active during late June and July when they fly around flowers at night in search of nectar, sporting brown stripes on their abdomens. They are also considered valuable pollinators due to their long mouths, which enable them to reach deep into blossoms for nectar. 

While adults feed on flowers and tree sap, their larvae feed on plants like lilac, cherry trees, goldenrod, and yarrows. Abbott’s sphinx moths show sexual dimorphism, which is easy to spot since males have thinner antennae than females. They usually fly at a low altitude and remain close to the ground during flight, so they can be difficult to spot unless observed closely under lights at night.

2. Abbreviated Button Slug Moth

The Abbreviated Button Slug Moth (Limacodidae) is a small, hairy moth found in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. The larvae of these moths typically have an oval or round shape and feature a variety of green or brown hairs. These moths are often found on plants or dead wood as they feed on nectar and juices from their host plants. 

Adult moths are usually gray, brown, or black, with long, narrow wings covering most of their bodies. The name comes from their abbreviated wings, making them difficult to fly compared to other types of moths in Ohio. 

The abbreviation of their wings also makes them the second on this list of the types of moths in Ohio, vulnerable to predators during migration. Nevertheless, the Abbreviated Button Slug Moth plays an important role in the ecosystem by acting as a pollinator for plants in its wide geographical range.

3. Achemon Sphinx Moth

The Achemon Sphinx Moth (Eumorpha achemon) is a species of moth in the family Sphingidae. It has a wide distribution, ranging from Canada to the eastern United States and parts of Mexico. The adult moths have striking dark brown fore- and hindwings marked with black bands and dark slashes that give them the appearance of a winged predatory creature. 

The larvae are equally eye-catching, displaying yellow or white stripes on their black bodies when fully grown. They feed on the leaves of the wild grapevine, apple, Virginia creeper, maple, chestnut oak, and other deciduous tree species found in their natural habitats of wetlands and stream corridors. The Achemon Sphinx Moth is one of the types of moths in Ohio often seen resting in gardens during its flight period from April to October each year.

4. Wainscot Moth

The Adjutant Wainscot Moth (Ngirhina pipirensis) is a species of moth native to India. It has a wingspan of approximately 2 inches and can be recognized by its distinctive pattern of orange and brown markings on the forewings. When at rest, the moth folds its wings back along its body. 

The larvae of this species on our list of the different types of moths in Ohio feed mainly on grasses and other low-lying vegetation. Its presence in the agricultural landscape helps regulate crop pests by preying upon them, making it beneficial to rural communities. In some regions, commercial breeders raise these moths for their attractive wing patterns, which are often used in clothing, accessories, and home decor.

5. Afflicted Dagger Moth

The Afflicted Dagger Moth (Acronicta afflicta) is a striking species of noctuid moth found in North America. It is dark brown and red-brown in color, with distinct silver stripes on the wings. The moth is usually found in wooded areas, attracted to lights at night, drifting over pathways looking for food. 

During the day, they remain well camouflaged by resting on tree trunks, logs, or stones, making them difficult to spot. They are types of moths in Ohio that feed primarily on decaying fruit, sap, and leaves. The larvae of this species make noise with the spines along their sides, making them distinguishable from other moths when flying near humans at night; they can also give a mild sting or bite if handled too roughly. 

Afflicted Dagger Moths are one of North America’s many moieties, which are important indicators of our environment’s health. They should be protected from threats like chemical pesticides and development projects that damage their habitats.

6. Ailanthus Webworm Moth

The Ailanthus Webworm Moth (Atteva aurea) is a species of moth belonging to the Yponomeutidae family. This small, white moth is found in most parts of North America and is especially associated with Tree of Heaven trees. It often forms large, silken webs, which may be confused for webs made by spiders. 

The larvae are particularly destructive to Ailanthus altissima, also known as the Tree of Heaven, and can cause severe defoliation damage if left unchecked. The adult moths may be seen throughout much of the year between April and October, feeding on nectar and pollen. Control of this pest species, which are types of moths in Ohio, includes cultural methods such as pruning affected branches and chemical sprays.

7. Ambiguous Moth

The Ambiguous Moth (Lascoria ambigualis) is a moth found in North America, especially in the southeastern states. The moth has a beautiful, delicate light brown color with small, intricate dark spots on its wings and body. It has a wingspan of 2-2.5 inches and usually feeds on nectar at night. 

Unlike many other types of moths in Ohio, it does not have a proboscis, which means it cannot feed directly from flowers. Instead, it crawls into the flower heads to drink the nectar that drips out when it rains or during dew formation. This moth species also appears to be resistant to certain insecticides, making them an attractive option for homeowners trying to manage insect populations in their yards and gardens.

8. American Bird’s-Wing Moth

The American Bird’s-Wing Moth is a species of Sphingidae found in North America, spanning across the United States and parts of Canada. The moth has brown wings that are decorated with black stripes and white spots, making it easy to identify. It is one of the different types of moths in Ohio that are active mainly at night and attracted to lights. 

The larvae feed on trees, shrubs, vines, and herbs, making them agricultural pests in some areas. It also produces silk that provides material for building nests for other animals, such as wasps or hornets. As the name suggests, its flight pattern resembles that of a small bird, making it even more distinct from other moths.

9. American Dagger Moth

The American Dagger Moth is a species of moth found in North America. It has a dark brown to black body with a yellowish-orange head and abdomen covered in tufted scales. Its wingspan can be up to 1.5-2 inches long, featuring a solid white line running along its outer edge and distinctive white spots across its body. 

The larvae of the American Dagger Moth feed on several woody plants, such as elm, birch, and oaks. Adult moths are mostly nocturnal and seek out nectar sources during the night hours when they are easiest to spot due to their brightly colored appearance. 

As with many other types of moths in Ohio, the American Dagger Moth plays an important role in its local environment. It acts as a pollinator for many flowering plants and serves as food for various birds, reptiles, and small mammals throughout its range.

1o. American Dun-bar Moth

The American Dun-bar Moth is a species native to North America, primarily distributed throughout Canada and the Northeastern United States. This particular type of moth has a wingspan of up to 1.5 inches and is identifiable by its dark coloration with various shades of brown, gray, and black markings across the wings and body. The larvae generally feed on meadow plant species, during their adult form nectar from wildflowers like dandelions and daisies. 

Though they have a short life expectancy of around two weeks, American Dun-bar Moths are considered beneficial for human health and agriculture fields since they help pollinate flowers and crops. During certain times of the year, heavy populations of this species may also cause damage to economically important plants such as wheat, corn, and other grains.

11. American Ermine Moth

The American Ermine Moth (Yponomeuta americanus) is a species of small, colored moths from the family Yponomeutidae. They are native to North America, where they are commonly found throughout Canada, Alaska, and parts of the western United States. These types of moths in Ohio have a unique pattern of black, white, and yellow stripes across their forewings that can be used to identify them. 

Their wingspan is typically between 1 and 2 centimeters, and they have long, pointed antennae that protrude from the head. American Ermine Moths feed on various deciduous and evergreen trees, including ash, aspen, and birch. They lay their eggs on these trees, hatching them into larvae that can cause significant damage if left uncontrolled. 

To combat this infestation, an insecticide or pheromone trap should be applied specifically for this moth species to restrict population growth in affected areas. Good hygiene practices, such as removing dead leaves, are also recommended to discourage further infestation.

12. Angulose Prominent Moth

The Angulose Prominent Moth is a medium-sized nocturnal moth found throughout Europe, North Africa, and parts of Asia. It is best known for its striking orange and black forewings, with white angle-shaped patterns outlined in black on both sides of each wing. The underwing is completely orange except for two tiny transverse black lines near the anal margin.

This unique species of the types of moths in Ohio feeds on a variety of host plants such as willowherbs, nettles, brambles, and shrubs. They can be seen flying around their chosen food sources during dusk in the summer months. They will often lay their eggs on the underside of their chosen host plants’ leaves, where they are hatched in early June to emerge as larvae in July. 

These larvae feed on the foliage until they enter hibernation in mid-autumn until emerge again as adult moths around May or June. The importance of this species lies largely in its role as a pollinator due to its nocturnal activities.

It plays an important role in many European ecosystems. It plays a key part within many agricultural systems by aiding crop yield and productivity by providing essential pollination services to many plant species. As such, we must take steps to protect this vital species from threats such as habitat modification, pollution, and human intrusion to ensure its survival for future generations.

13. Angus’ Datana Moth

This list of the various types of moths in Ohio is incomplete without the Angus’ Datana Moth. It is most commonly found in the east and southeast, although they have been spotted as far north as Manitoba and Ontario, Canada. The specific scientific name for this species is Datana angusii. 

This moth has a wingspan of up to 1.5 inches, making it one of the larger moths native to North America. The forewings are usually yellow or orange with dark brown markings, while its hindwings may be white or pale yellow. Additionally, this species features two long black spots on its thorax near the shoulders. 

The life cycle of Angus’ Datana Moths begins in spring when adults emerge from their winter dormancy and mate shortly afterward. The females will then lay eggs on nuts such as hickory or walnut trees, which hatch into larvae within a few days after being laid. These larvae will feed voraciously for several months before reaching full maturity and spinning silk cocoons. They enter a pupal stage that may last as long as three full months before emerging into adult moths again. 

Like most types of moths in Ohio, Angus’ Datana Moths consume pollen, nectar, and sap from tree flowers during the nighttime hours. They rest during the day inside crevices or shaded areas nearby bushes and shrubs until they are disturbed by human activity or other triggers that lead them to search for new food sources further away from their current location. 

As one of the largest types of moths in Ohio, Angus’ Datana Moth can easily be identified due to its vibrant colors and distinct black spots on its thorax near the shoulder area. This signifies it is part of this species rather than another related one native to similar regions across North America.

14. Arched Hooktip

An Arched Hooktip is a type of dry fly pattern that imitates the look and movement of aquatic insects. It is often used as an attractor pattern to catch fish whose bright colors and unique shapes can attract. The hooktip, among the numerous moths in Ohio, is made with dark-colored thread, typically black or dark brown.

Meanwhile, it features a single long piece of hackle for wings, dubbed ‘wings’, which come together at the front and curl up or away in an almost-arched design. For added effect, some anglers will add additional flash material to the body behind the wings to make it stand out even more. To create this fly, one must start by winding some thread around a standard fishing hook, starting from just behind the eye on one side and wrapping around until you are at the base of the hook. 

To create your tiered wings design, you need to tie off the thread securely before adding your hackle material – either turkey feathers or rooster capes. Once secured with thread, you form those wings into an arched shape using your fingers or dubbing wax, depending on preference. Last but not least, add extra flash and finish up with epoxy glue if desired before hitting the water in search of bites!

15. Archips Leafroller

Of the several types of moths in Ohio, Archips Leafroller is a genus of moths that comprises more than 80 species. They are commonly called pest moths because the larvae of many species feed on the leaves and fruits of various trees and shrubs, which can cause damage to crops and orchards. Depending on the species, adult moths have forewings that vary in color from pale yellow to brownish-red and usually have white or tan hind wings. 

The larvae can range from one centimeter to a length of four centimeters, and they have a yellowish-green color with rows of black spots running down their back. These moths can cause significant damage in agricultural and forestry areas by defoliating host plants such as apple trees, cherry trees, pecan trees, oak trees, willows, and other deciduous trees. 

These infestations need to be identified quickly so that appropriate control measures can be taken before large quantities of foliage are consumed. Natural predators like birds, parasitic wasps, lacewings, and ladybugs can help reduce damage caused by Archip leafrollers if present in sufficient numbers. Chemical treatments such as insecticidal sprays can also be used to manage populations in agricultural areas when necessary.

16. Arcigera Flower Moth

The Arcigera flower moth (Utetheisa pulchella) is a species of noctuid moths native to many parts of the world, including Europe, Africa, Australia, and the United States. It gets its name from the arcigerous flower-like pattern on its wings, usually dull gray or brownish. The moth, one of the various types of moths in Ohio, is known for its ability to unravel into a tight ball when predators threaten it. 

The larvae of this moth feed on plants such as broomweed, hibiscus, and cotton, while adult moths feed mainly on nectar from flowers. The Arcigera flower moth plays an important role in pollination as it transfers pollen between plants of the same species. This species is typically found in gardens and meadows and is only active at night. While the moth does not damage agricultural crops, it can become a nuisance when it enters buildings due to its strong attraction to light sources.

17. Army Cutworm Moth

The Army Cutworm Moth (Euxoa auxiliaris) is a moth native to North America. It is named after its larvae, which can cause significant damage to agricultural crops. Its wingspan ranges from 40-60 millimeters, and it has a grayish-brown coloration with dark markings on the forewings and hindwings. 

The adult moths feed mainly on nectar but may also feed on other liquid sources, such as dead insects. The larvae are typically found in open areas, including fields, pastures, meadows, and croplands, where they feed on grass, leaves, roots, and other vegetable matter. They are types of moths in Ohio and are active during the day when they are easily seen searching for food against the green background of vegetation. 

Compared to the other types of moths in Ohio, the Army Cutworm Moth is an important pest to farmers in North America due to its feeding habits. The larvae can sometimes strip crops of their foliage and even consume whole stems. This leads to reduced yields for farmers and contributes to crop loss each year. 

To control this pest population, farmers practice rotation planting techniques where possible or use insecticides that target the immature stages of the Army Cutworm Moth’s life cycle, such as neonicotinoids or Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Even though these practices are effective at controlling moth populations, they should be used judiciously. This is because repeated use of pesticides can lead to a buildup of toxicity in the environment and harm both necessary pollinators and surrounding wildlife habitats.

18. Ash Sphinx Moth

The Ash Sphinx moth is a species of medium-sized moth found in northern parts of the United States. It belongs to the family Sphingidae and has an array of brown, yellow, and black colors on its wings. The moths have patterned markings on each wing, which feature dark patches edged with pale scales to help them match the bark of their chosen habitat. 

These particular types of moths in Ohio feed on various flowers but specifically prefer aster and goldenrod blooms. They are often mistaken for hummingbirds or hawk moths due to their fast-moving flight pattern, which can resemble a bee or butterfly. Unlike other types of moths in Ohio, Ash Sphinx moths don’t usually settle for long periods since they expend most of their energy quickly when searching for food sources or watching for predators. They are also active day and night, depending on the temperature. 

If threatened by their natural predator—bats—they release pheromones from specialized scales that line their wings to repel them. As they’re well adapted to warm environments, they’re also seen during fire season as they feed upon burnt plant matter that’s been charred by flames.

19. Ash-Tip Borer Moth

The Ash-tip Borer Moth is a species of moth found in North America, Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and South America. It is also known as the blind-sided borer because its larvae bore into Ash trees from the side not covered by bark. These moths have a wingspan of 1 to 1.5 inches with rusty brown front wings and pale yellow hindwings. 

The larvae are grayish-brown and can reach up to 2 inches in length. They feed on Ash tree foliage and tunnel into branches or trunks, causing damage to Ash trees that is not easily detected until after they pupate under the bark. 

In addition, these moths may be vectors for EAB (Emerald Ash Borer), affecting many Ash species throughout their range. Preventive treatments such as trunk injection, trunk sprays, soil drenches, and foliar sprays may protect Ash trees from this pest before an infestation occurs.

20. Bagworm Moth

The bagworm moth, scientific name Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis, is a type of moth whose larvae construct protective cases for themselves out of leaves and debris. The adult moths are typically brown-gray and differentiated from other moths due to a reddish front section called the “bagworm head.” The females never leave their bags and die soon after mating, but males live for about two weeks so they can disperse and find more females. 

The larvae populate by producing silk that wraps around objects such as stray pieces of foliage or twigs and rocks, bricks, and other objects close to the ground to attach them. This stick-like case transpires into a sack, with frass being steadily added to make it heavier so that wind gusts cannot easily lift it away. The sack also allows the larvae to stay hydrated during dry periods and protects them from predators and parasites. 

As types of moths in Ohio, bagworms feed on over 100 species of trees, including cedar, juniper, jasmine osmanthus, Leyland cypress pine, and other conifers. Outbreaks can cause complete defoliation of trees if left untreated, but thankfully, multiple methods are available for treating them, including pruning affected tree branches. Spraying insecticides and introducing beneficial insects like blue-black ground beetles who feast on bagworm eggs or larvae can also help.

21. Baltimore Hypena Moth

The Baltimore Hypena Moth (Hypena baltimoralis) is a species of moth belonging to the Erebidae family. This species is native to North America and can be found in the eastern United States, from Maine to Florida and westward to Kansas. The adult Baltimore Hypena Moth has a wingspan of around 1.25 inches/3.2 cm and is primarily grayish-brown in color with white marks on the wings, giving them their distinctive appearance. 

A jagged black streak crosses the wings near the base, which helps distinguish this moth from similar species like the Willow Moth (Stilpnotia salicis). The caterpillar is also brownish-gray, with a dark speckled head and short wavy hair covering its body. They are likewise types of moths in Ohio and feed primarily on leaves of deciduous trees such as oak, willow, elm, and box elder during summer. 

The Baltimore Hypena Moth plays an important role in our environment as it serves as a food source for several wildlife species, such as birds, amphibians, reptiles, and insectivores. Additionally, its caterpillars play an important role in their ecology by refilling tree leaf density upon defoliating trees. 

Although quite common, this species can experience habitat loss because of climate change, which causes suitable habitats to dry out or become too warm for survival. Thus, it’s crucial that we make efforts to maintain suitable habitats for this species so that we can protect biodiversity in our ecosystem!

22. Banded Olethreutes Moth

The Banded Olethreutes Moth (Olethreutes fasciatana) is a species of moth commonly found in North America. The moth’s wings, which can span up to 2 inches across, are white with yellow and black bands on either side. The larvae feed primarily on flowers, buds, and leaves of various plants, including roses and sumac; however, they can also feed on tomatoes, apples, and conifers. 

Of the types of moths in Ohio, this species is considered a serious pest as the larvae can cause extensive crop damage. One method used to protect crops from the damage caused by the Banded Olethreutes Moth is using biological control agents such as parasitic wasps or other predatory insects that feed on the larvae. 

Additionally, cultural practices such as removing debris around gardens or crop fields can help reduce populations of this insect pest. Lastly, certain types of pesticides may also be used to control populations if necessary. This wraps up our list of the types of moths in Ohio!


In conclusion, Ohio is home to various types of moths. These moths come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, making them an interesting subject for amateur and professional lepidopterists alike. While some moths are more common than others, the diversity of species present in Ohio provides a great opportunity to study and appreciate these unique creatures. 

Whether it be through photographing or collecting specimens, exploring different habitats, or merely learning more about the various species found around the state, researching Ohio moths is sure to provide hours of entertainment and educational value. All the best in your research on the different types of moths in Ohio!

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