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Spot ID Characters for the Family


Underwing Moths

To view close-ups, mouse over each moth in the left image.

Key Characters:

  • Antennae filiform
  • Front wings mottled brown in color
  • Hind wings differ from front wings in color and/or pattern
  • Subcosta (Sc) arises near base of hind wing
  • Three medio-cubital veins reach distal margin of hind wing

Picture Gallery

Underwing moths are the largest family in the Lepidoptera order, with over 2,500 species in the United States and Canada.  They have filiform antennae, a short subcosta at the base of the hind wing, and three medio-cubital veins that reach the distal margin of the hind wing.  Many species in this family are nocturnal and have a tympanal auditory organ that is located at the base of the abdomen to help avoid bats.  In addition, the hind wings are set apart from the forewings with their bright color.