Gold-flecked Bird Dropping Moth

Acontia cretata

Acontia cretata in Sonoran Desert photo © by Mike Plagens

At light, Rackensack Wash, Maricopa Co., Arizona. 11 Aug. 2016. Length of the resting moth is about 8 mm.

Noctuidae -- Owlet Moth Family

During the day when it is resting on a leaf or other surface it strongly resembles a bird dropping. Apparently this works to confuse insectivorous birds as to its edibility. The food plant for the larva of this moth is not certainly known. A worth while study would be to find a larva on the host plant and rear it to the adult stage moth. There are quite a number of related species, each with a slightly different pattern; if all the species had the same pattern, birds would learn to recognize the fake bird dropping pattern.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 23 Aug. 2016