Ben here with the Thursday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & ...

Ben here with the Thursday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & ...

Ben here with the Thursday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

This is a tiger moth (genus Apantesis), and for the past month or so I've seen a slew of them. They're usually one of the first arrivals to my porch light when dusk arrives and I can count on seeing anywhere between 6-10 on a given night.

While these are smaller moths, they're quite striking with their tiger-stripe wing patterns and pinkish hindwings. Although they may look quite distinctive, it's difficult to narrow these guys down to species. When it comes to their markings and coloration, they aren't 100 percent consistent. In fact, the only way to reliably identify these moths to species is by dissecting and examining their genitalia. While I take my #BenInNature position seriously, that's a bridge I'm not willing to cross, and I have a feeling the moths appreciate that.

Generally speaking, however, these tiger moths are found in eastern and central North America. The larvae tend to feed on a wide variety of plants, mostly low-growing weeds, grasses, garden shrubs, and trees. The adults feed on flower nectar. You can find them on the wing from summer into early fall, so if you'd like to see one, you have plenty of time to leave your porch light on!

ABOUT #BenInNature
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (

If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

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