A Gray-edged Hypena goes by many other names and comes in many variations.
Females of this moth may be golden brown, or light brown and tan with possible pink hues. Males are a dark shade of charcoal gray with some individuals appearing black. Wings slightly flare out when spread flat. Both sexes tend to be darker on the middle band of the forewings, and lighter near the bottom and by the head. A zig-zag line separates these two parts. A single dark dot sits on each forewing near the center of the middle. The face seems to have a snout, which is not a nose, but a pair of labial palps set closely together that help identify food. This moth is almost always near a woodland or area where Black Walnut trees grow.
The caterpillar is green with faint, pink or red freckles all over it. Short bristles or hairs protrude from these pinkish dots. It feeds on the leaves of the black walnut tree, a plant known for releasing a chemical into the ground around it that prevents other plants from growing there. (This chemical, juglone, is not toxic to people, but it can be harmful to horses if black walnut wood shavings are used as bedding for the animal.) Caterpillars also feed on leaves of white walnut (also called butternut) trees that grow near black walnut trees. One or two broods can be produced each year depending on the region's climate.
Winged adults get an early start in the warmer, southern part of its range and can be spotted in flight in early spring. Farther north, observers have to wait until late spring to catch a glimpse at the Gray-edged Hypena. This moth also goes by the name of Gray-edged Snout, thanks to those hairy labial palps. It is also called the Gray-edged Bomolocha, referring to its previous genus name.
Scientific Name: Hypena madefactalis
Other Name(s): Gray-edged Bomolocha, Gray-edged Snout Moth
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 17mm to 19mm (0.66in to 0.74in)
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.