Archiearis infans “The Infant” Geometridae

Salmon-Challis National Forest, ID
March 20, 2015
Robert Niese

When I first saw this flashy, day-flying moth, I immediately assumed it was a skipper butterfly! Took me a while to realize it was actually The Infant, an inchworm moth (Geometridae). This species is called “The Infant” because it is one of the very first moths to emerge from hibernation in the spring. This individual was fluttering around some moist gravel, sipping up water and minerals in the sunshine. Apparently, Song Sparrows have been observed hunting Infants in muddy areas like this, because it is one of the only times the moth is still enough to be captured. The Infant is found throughout the west in areas with birch and alder, and is the only member of this genus in North America.

Happy National Moth Week!