Hiding in plain sight, the Canadian Owlet Moth looks like a dry, rumpled leaf, allowing it to safely rest anywhere.
Found in most of Canada and the United States, the Canadian Owlet has a larger range than its name suggests, though it is less common in the warmer southern states. The brown moth has subtle hue shifts on its forewings, giving the illusion of depth and dimension. A thin, slightly wavy, dark line crosses each forewing on an angle. When viewed overhead, the line on each wing meets near the center of the abdomen and creates an inverted V-shape. A clump of hairs rise up near the head, like the moth has a small camel hump. Its face has hairs that angle upward.
This genus of moths is known for sucking blood. Vampire moths in the Calyptra genus have a barbed probocis that is typically used to pierce fruit in order to suck on its juices. Male moths also use it to pierce the skin of animals, and even an obliging human, and suck blood from them. The behavior is thought to come from mistaking possible food sources, which resulted in males taking in the salt from blood. The behavior may have continued in order to pass on the mineral to offspring through fertilization. The Canadian Owlet Moth has not been seen exhibiting this behavior, but it is possible that it does. Bites from its relatives leave a small red mark and may be sore for a while, but they are not dangerous.
Caterpillars of the Canadian Owlet are white on top and green on bottom. Broken black lines run the length of the body and yellow dots line each side. Its yellow head has black marks on it. This species feeds on meadow rue, a type of flowering plant. Meadow rue does not grow well in hot, humid places, so it's scarcity in warm southern states may explain the rarity of the moth's presence there. Adults are nocturnal and will come to lights at night.
Scientific Name: Calyptra canadensis
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 19mm to 40mm (0.74in to 1.56in)
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.