These striking moths used to be in the family Thyatiridae, but molecular studies have shown that that is more properly a subfamily, Thyatirinae, of the family Drepanidae. Regardless of where they are placed, most of the Thyatirids are cool and unusual looking moths, and Habrosyne scripta is no exception.
Lettered Habrosynes are seldom abundant at my lights, but they are settlers, and once one is perched on the sheet it usually has to be shaken off at evenings end. I love moths that settle down on my sheets, especially the very interesting looking ones, because then I can delight in them every time I walk by, all night long.
Description– Medium sized (fw length 17-19mm) moth with bold grey and brown patches surrounded by white, several roughly parallel zigzag to scalloped lines midwing, a white scalloped line near the margin, and a flange at the anal angle of the forewing; orbicular spot is white and filled with ground color, and the reniform spot is similar but slightly larger with a central white bar; there are two dished areas of raised hair at the color, and a narrow strip of raised hair between them and extending along the thorax; hindwing is yellowish grey;
Similar species-None. The only other Habrosyne in North America, H. gloriosa, isn’t found west of the Rockies in our region.
Habitat-Moist to mesic forests and forest openings
Range-Temperate North America; primarily west of the Cascades and in forested areas on the eastside; absent from shrub steppe and most of the arid interior of our region.
Eats-Larval hosts are members of the genus Rubus, especially Rubus spectabilis (Salmonberry). “Reports of Betula, birch, are most unlikely and require confirmation.”(Powell/Opler, Moths of Western North America, 2009)
Reproduction-Probably univoltine in our region.
Adults active-May through August, peak in July
Etymology of names–Habrosyne is from the Greek word for ‘splendor’, an apt name for these beautiful moths. The specific epithet scripta is from the Latin word for ‘writing’, which refers to the parallel squiggly lines midwing.