A two-toned wing is not always the easiest way to identify the somewhat varied Bicolored Sallow Moth.
The two colors of the Bicolored Sallow Moth are brown and a darker purple-brown, but it is not seen on every individual. In bicolored specimens, the upper half of the wings is orange-brown while the lower half is darker with purple undertones. There are individuals that have wings showing mostly brown with only streaks of that darker, purple tone. All individuals have a furry, brown thorax and a dark ring on the outer, upper half of each forewing. Beneath the ring is a dark spot at the middle of the wing.
The caterpillar for the Bicolored Sallow Moth is brown with a black head. A single dark band wraps around the first segment of the body, just after the head. The segments near the rear end each have a triangular-shaped, darker brown patch in the center. They feed on the leaves of common trees like oak, willow, elm, cherry, and crabapple as well as crops like cabbage and tobacco.
This is a fairly common moth in the eastern and northern part of the continent. What is uncommon is its usual months of activity. While most moths take immediate advantage of warming weather in spring, this species is not typically seen flying until August or September. All activity ends by November or December making the window to catch a glimpse of this one somewhat narrow.
Scientific Name: Sunira bicolorago
Other Name(s): Shield-backed Cutworm (caterpillar)
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 18mm to 20mm (0.70in to 0.78in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.