Spot the moth(S)!

We have another visual stumper today, and this is a hard one. It comes from reader Mark Sturtevant. First his notes and the picture, and I’ll give the reveal later:

A funny thing happened when I was preparing this picture. I found a large underwing moth [Catocala sp.] on a dead tree trunk, and immediately set about taking pictures. One picture was taken at a distance so that the readers of WEIT might enjoy trying to find it. That moth is actually not too hard to find, but when I was preparing the picture to be sent to you I found a second underwing moth in the picture!  I was at this tree for nearly an hour (there was a huge syrphid fly that also needed its picture taken), and I had no idea that the second moth was there. I am still pretty giggly about it.

Anyway, the readers will know what to do. But that 2nd one…. Let’s say your readers might go through a pot of tea before they find it. Good luck!

I’ll put up the reveal at about 1 pm Chicago time, just to give you plenty of time to spot the two moths.

Although these moths have brightly marked hindwings, they’re always covered by the highly cryptic forewings when the moths are hiding (they probably evolved to startle predators). You can see some photos of underwing moths here.

Oh, and try not to give away the locations of the moths in the comments. But if you found both, feel free to proclaim your perspicacity!

And click (twice if you want to eliminate the overlapping text) to enlarge.



  1. geckzilla
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Spotted both easily in the full-size image (smaller image is *much* harder), but I can’t be 100% sure there aren’t more than two there…

    • Posted August 28, 2016 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      I found one quickly in the small image, but then had trouble finding it after enlarging. The second one I found while looking for the first in the large image.

  2. Posted August 28, 2016 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Got them.

    • W.Benson
      Posted August 28, 2016 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Me too. Took a couple of minutes though.

  3. GBJames
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Ha! I think I did it. One is pretty easy. The other, not so much. But still, if you have a nice big monitor to enlarge on…

  4. Leigh
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Also think I found two.

  5. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    You guys shoulda been out there with me. B/c when I was walking around that tree the one had me completely bamboozled.

    • Christopher
      Posted August 28, 2016 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Got ’em.

      They’re a helluva lot easier to spot at night when they congregate around the porch light, that’s for sure! Catocala illecta were frequent guests at the family home’s back porch light. the Family Erebidae are beautiful but under-appreciated moths.

  6. rickflick
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I see a moth, for sure, but also a curious set of what look like insect legs in another spot. Could there be two?

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted August 28, 2016 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      There are two. Same species.

  7. Steve
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Found 2 in 40 seconds.

  8. chris moffatt
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Didn’t take a pot of tea. They were both hiding inside the nightjar.

  9. Posted August 28, 2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Found both, didn’t take long.

  10. ploubere
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, got em fairly quickly, but of course wouldn’t have if I hadn’t known to look for a second one.

  11. Mike McCants
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Symmetry – it’s all about the symmetry.

  12. Paul Matthews
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Not that hard–found them both within a minute or two. Was feeling pretty clever till my ten-year-old son had a go and found them in under 15 seconds, harder one first. You gotta love those young eyes!

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