Virginia Ctenucha Moth - Ctenucha virginica
Subfamily Arctiinae / Tribe Arctiini (Tiger Moths) / subtribe Ctenuchina
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Live adult moths and caterpillars photographed in the wild at DuPage County, Illinois.
Virginia Ctenucha Moth - Ctenucha virginica
July 2004 - These moths are undergoing a population explosion here near Chicago. They fly up from the underbrush and grass at seemingly every step of mine. They are, however, extremely wary and difficult to approach. Try following these guys around for hours at ninety + degrees - whew!

June 2009 - Apparently, a population explosion is not unusual. These huge, conspicuous moths are again everywhere.

Virginia Ctenuchid Caterpillar
Virginia Ctenuchid Caterpillar
Virginia Ctenucha Moth - Ctenucha virginica
The blue metallic iridescence on these moths is not to be missed. One of North America's most colorful insects!
 
Subfamily Arctiinae - Tiger and Lichen Moths
Formerly family Arctiidae, this is a large and diverse family of moths with around 11,000 species in three tribes worldwide [2].

The most distinctive feature of the family is a tymbal organ on the metathorax which uses a thin membrane to produce ultrasonic countermeasures against their chief predator's (bats) echolocation system. Larvae of some species use sound along with color aposematically to advertise their inedibility; many species acquire chemical defenses from their hostplants e.g. milkweed.
Caterpillar head & mouthparts detail
Caterpillar business end, a voracious munching machine.
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Order Lepidoptera: Moths. Unlike the butterflies, moths are usually nocturnal. Many moths and their caterpillars are major agricultural pests in large parts of the world. Moths in the family Tineidae are commonly regarded as pests because their larvae eat fabrics, clothes and blankets made from natural fibers such as wool or silk. Moths in the genus Farinalis feed on stored grain, flour, corn meal and other milled grain products.
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