Erebidae (a noctuid family containing the tiger and lichen moths)
Adults have black forewings. The hindwings (usually covered by the forewings) are translucent in the middle; sometimes the patch looks whitish or bluish. The body is all black, or bluish-black, except for the bright orange (sometimes yellow) “collar.”
Larvae have numerous tubercles bearing hair tufts. The body is brownish with a dark line down the back, a broken orange and yellow line to either side of it and a broader line below that. The head is orange with brownish shading.
Wingspan: 1–1½ inches.
Habitat and conservation:
The adults are frequently seen as they visit flowers during the day. They are also attracted to lights at night. They can be found in virtually any Missouri habitat, but if you are looking for them, start in fields, prairies, parks and yards with plenty of flowers.
Larvae feed on grasses, lichens and sedges. The adults drink nectar from a variety of flowers, including many in the sunflower family, such as goldenrods, as well as milkweeds.
Distribution in Missouri:
Adults fly from late April until the freezing weather of autumn.
There are about 3 species of scape moths in North America. But what is a “scape”? It is a kind of stalk, or shaft—like the leafless stem of a tulip that rises directly from the ground. This group of moths seems to have been named for a long, scapelike stalk at the base of each antenna.
The caterpillars are herbivores that graze on vegetation. The adults serve a role in pollination. This species might garner some protection from predators by mimicking wasps or bad-tasting beetles. It might also acquire some toxicity itself when it gathers nectar from plants with toxic chemicals.