New York Natural Heritage Program
An Ear Moth
Amphipoea erepta ryensis
Insects

Identifying Characteristics [-]
This small moth has a wingspan of approximately 1.25 in (34-35 mm). It has light reddish-brown forewings with fine lines and subtle shading, and a white, crescent-shaped spot in the center. The hind wings are yellowish brown (Bird 1913; City of New York 1987). The larvae have a small, rounded, pale yellow head; are whitish and translucent; have a purplish-brown ring on the anterior half of each segment except the first and twelfth that gives them a characteristic ringed appearance; and have sixteen legs (Bird 1913).

Behavior [-]
This borer moth lays a single brood of eggs each year (Bird 1913). In the spring, larvae that have emerged from eggs burrow into the base of stems of northern gama grass (Tripsacum dactyloides), their sole food source, eventually killing the stems (Bird 1913; City of New York 1987; Kunstler 1991). After feeding, the larvae usually leave the stems in the first two weeks in June (E. Quinter, personal communication, cited in City of New York 1987) to pupate under the soil. They tend to emerge as moths in mid-late June and early July (City of New York 1987).

Diet [-]
The larvae feed only on northern gama grass (Tripsacum dactyloides).
An Ear Moth Images
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The Best Time to See
The best time to see this species is during its larval stage, around June 1, when it can be found burrowed in the base of stems of its larval food source, northern gama grass (Tripsacum dactyloides).
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Present Reproducing Larvae present and active
The time of year you would expect to find An Ear Moth present (blue shading), reproducing (green shading) and larvae present and active (orange shading) in New York.