Eutelia Moth:
Marbled Gem

By William T. Hathaway

Eutelia Moth (Eutelia pulcherrima)

The Eutelia Moth (Eutelia pulcherrima) has a wingspan of +/- 35 mm. Its colors of black, reddish brown and blue-white on the wings resemble a group of complex cells. The color hues are edged in white, accentuating the overall wing display to appear as a tiny, marbled gemstone relic from an old attic. Unlike color markings on some moths, these cells show little variation in pattern distribution, including the hooked forewings.

This specimen was collected in 1987 in early May as it was clinging to the wall of a building on top of White Oak Mountain. The generic name Eutelia may refer to the wing pattern as similar to a group of cells. The Eutelia Moth certainly deserves its Latin specific name pulcherrima, which can mean “exceedingly beautiful.”

A popular book on moths lists poison sumac as the main food for this moth. However, poison sumac has not been recorded as part of the Pittsylvania County flora. Certainly, much is yet to be learned about our local insects and plants.

The photograph of the Eutelia Moth which I first used to accompany this article was quite disappointing due to rather dull colors. After having worked for several hours on my computer, I managed to upgrade the colors which now do justice to the beautiful Eutelia moth. It may seem childish, but it gives me great satisfaction to present a clearer view of this little beauty.


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