Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Can Anyone Help Identify This Bug?

I counted twenty of these on my back door tonight. They appear to be moths (furry bodies/feathery antennae), but they rest with their wings spread wide (Anda insists this is a characteristic of butterflies). They look bluish in the pictures because of the flash, but in real life they are a dusty-looking matte black with no markings, fringes, spots, or variance--almost like they are made, body and wings, from expensive black velvet. They are about an inch long and about an inch wide at rest, and appeared tonight.

Any ideas?


morelightthanburden said...

Well, of course they're made of black velvet, you're in Vegas, right?

I looked them up in our family's field guide (we LOVE these things) and the closest I could find was indeed a moth--the Grapeleaf Skeletonizer. This one looks exactly the same as yours, save for an orange collar and the fact that it says it only goes as far west as Missouri. However, it has the black, velvety body, spread wings (many moths have these) and feathered antennae. So, I think you're right, moth, but the book has no one matching this EXACT one. Good luck!

Becca Jones said...

We do have grape leafs that are being skeletonized right now--I wondered what pest was eating them!

rachel said...

Well with Laura's fabulous tip, it looks like you indeed have the western grapeleaf skeletonizer, Harrisina brillians. The one she found in the field guide is Harrisina americana.

Pictures of adult buggies

Info page from UC Davis.

And if you need to identify other buggies, as I often do with Haden in the house, check out (there's also a great one for identifying birds at