Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ctenucha rubroscapus it is!

The fascinating moth, subject of my post a few days ago, has attracted some attention. A follower in Davis and a few others have determined it's the Red-Shouldered Ctenucha, Ctenucha rubroscapus. Several web sites report that very little is known about it. They say Ctenuchas lay eggs and pupate on grass, sedges, and irises, but no one reports its adult habits. I've reported to a couple of websites that invite such that all the ones I've seen are frolicking on Pennyroyal. At least it looks like frolicking. I should add that when they swarmed on a recent day, they seemed to have lost some of that skittishness that wouldn't allow me to approach closely. A six-year-old hiker with me caught one by hand. Then I caught one. We watched them for a while in our bug jars then released them. I discourage kids from "collecting" bugs [i. e., killing and pinning] as they can learn so much more by patiently observing them alive. Thanks to all the followers who wrote me about this moth.


  1. I just caught this moth yesterday and found the ID at the Jackson County extension. A number of these were on a buckthorn bush in Eagle Point, Oregon. The property owner said these come every year to this bush. While in the cup I kept it in it laid eggs in one day in captivity. It is a really pretty moth.

  2. Hello, I just discovered your site after googling ctenucha rubroscapus. We are in the Sierra foothills outside of Grass Valley. Over the past few days, I've noticed a sudden outburst of these moths all over the grasses and water irises down by the pond. Just today, I photographed several of them mating. I'm wondering if you're seeing them now as well. I had an opportunity to photograph one shortly after it emerged from its cocoon. They are quite beautiful moths.

  3. I live in Eugene, OR and see these guys almost every day on my echinacea while it's in bloom. They seem to be so fixated on those big blossoms that you can go right up to them and gently touch them without distracting them from their food one bit. Very striking creatures.