Arizona Bird Dropping Moth

Ponometia elegantula

Ponometia elegantula in Sonoran Desert photo © by Mike Plagens

Several of these moths were found at night visiting flowers of Larrea tridentata. Mohawk Mountains, Yuma Co., Arizona. 20 Feb. 2016. Length of the resting moth is about 7 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, but I strongly suspect a species of Ambrosia. A worth while study would be to find a larva on the host plant and rear it to the adult stage moth.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 19 March 2016