A large yellow and brown moth, the Variable Tropic lives up to its name in every way.
Found mostly in the hot and humid U.S. Southeast and throughout Mexico, the Variable Tropic's range extends well into Central America. Its appearance can be vastly different between individuals. A yellow upper half and purple-brown lower half is one variation. Other moths are completely brown, but retain the separating line near the bottom of the wings. A completely yellow moth with some brown spots, or none, also represent this species. All have a wide wingspan that can cover most of a human palm. The bottoms of the wings are rounded, and a common resting position has the wings partly spread open. Some of these variations make it a difficult moth to identify.
Scientific Name: Hemeroplanis scopulepes
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 13mm to 15mm (0.51in to 0.59in)
Colors: yellow; purple; brown
Descriptors: top yellow; bottom purple brown; brown spots; flying; rounded wings
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.