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17 September 2005
Moth no longer a mystery

Cucullia convexipennis or Brown-hooded owlet mothI recently posted pictures of a large, nectar-sipping moth that appeared around the petunias on our back porch. We couldn't seem to find a good ID for it, so I sent a plea to some avid insecters here in Blogoland, and they came through heroically.

Cindy first guessed that this guy was probably in the Noctuidae or Owlet Moth family rather than the Sphingidae family as I had guessed. Tony researched and found a likely identification of Cucullia convexipennis or Brown-hooded owlet moth in the Noctuidae family. Pamela provided links to more images. It looked like a really good match to me to I dug around a bit to see if the size and range and other details seemed appropriate.

Well, I can't find much concrete info about this Owlet moth. It must be one of the larger moths in the Noctuidae family as it had a wingspan of about 2 to 2 1/4" or so. It is a night-flyer and feeds, apparently, on flower nectar. The caterpillar form of this guy feeds on aster and goldenrod foliage. We've certainly got lots of goldenrod around here. It appears that its range may include most of the Upper Midwest and Eastern US and Southern Canada. I can't find a range map, but there are recorded observations from Saskatchewan, Ontario, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New York, etc.

Though I can't even find a range map, I did discover that its nucleic acid sequence is well-established:

413 bases -

1 hvdsgksttt ghliykcggi dkrtiekfek eaqemgkgsf kyawvldklk aerergitid
61 ialwkfetar yyvtiidapg hrdfiknmit gtsqadcavl ivaagtgefe agiskngqtr
121 ehallaftlg vkqlivgvnk mdsteppyse srfeeikkev ssyikkigyn paavafvpis
181 gwhgdnmlea stkmpwfkgw nverkegkae gkcliealda ilpparptdk alrlplqdvy
241 kiggigtvpv grvetgilkp gtivvfapan ittevksvem hhealqeavp gdnvgfnvkn
301 vsvkelrrgy vagdsknnpp kgaadftaqv ivlnhpgqis ngytpvldch tahiackfae
361 ikekvdrrtg kstednpksi ksgdaaivnl vpskplcves fqefpplgrf avr

If I had just captured, extracted and sequenced it we'd know for sure...

Cindy, Tony, Pamela - thanks for your help!

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