Project Noah Fun Fact: Ilia Underwing

For every day of National Moth Week, our partner, citizen science website Project Noah will be featuring a fun fact about the underwing moths, Catocala, and their look-alikes.

From Project Noah:

Ilia Underwing (Catocala ilia) spotted by Project Noah user Mandy Hollman.

Ilia Underwing (Catocala ilia) spotted by Project Noah user Mandy Hollman.

Fun Fact! While adult underwing moths in the genus Catocala are masters of disguise, so are their larval counterparts. These caterpillars are a variety of grays and greens and typically assume the appearance of lichen, such as this Ilia Underwing, Catocala ilia. This demonstrates how evolution affects all aspects of an organism’s life, and how certain species may adopt different forms of mimicry throughout their life cycle. In this case, the larval form of this species has evolved to be a lichen mimic while the forewings of the adult mimic tree bark.

You can participate in the global citizen science project National Moth Week! National Moth Week 2016 is July 23-31. Visit the website for more information and be sure to register a public or private event! An event can be as simple as observing the moths that come to a porch. During NMW, be sure to submit your photos to one of our many partners! If you submit them to Project Noah, be sure to add them to the National Moth Week mission, Moths of the World!

About Jacob Gorneau

Jacob Gorneau is a student at Cornell University, where he plans to major in Entomology. He is interested in the taxonomic research of moths.
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