Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Orange Wing Moth

This little moth is an Orange Wing (Mellilla xanthometata) and this is the only species within this genus in the World. In the United States they are found from Texas northward and then eastward to New York. They can also be found in Ontario, Canada. The adult male has bright orange hind wings that are hidden when not in flight, their forewings are tan or gray with distinctive black spots and lines. Females are similar to males, except their hindwings are paler and are more yellowish in appearance.  These moths are active night and day and often come to lights at night. These moths are in the family geometridae with moths like Tulip-Tree Beauty,The Saw-Wing, and Crocus Geometer. The caterpillars of moths in this family are called inchworms and are often seen hanging by a strand of silk from leaves or twigs. The caterpillars of this species feed on locust trees. Look for them clinging to low vegetation during the day with their wings closed, like the one pictured here.


  1. Rather different, but our Orange Tip Butterflies are just taking wing here in Wales ~ a joy to behold! Love your photo.

  2. yes i found a full grown one and i am scared that it will die and i do not know its favorite food.

    1. I would suggest putting it back outside. I don't know what they eat or how to care for them. Many adult moths do not eat and only live long enough to mate and carry on their genetics.