Horrid Zale Moth (Zale horrida)
(Photo: Marvin Smith on 5/6/09)
Horrid Zale Moth
Range: Eastern North America
Habitat: Deciduous forests.
Season: May - July
Host Plant: Larvae feed on Nanyberry--Viburnum lentago, and other (?) Viburnums. (Note: According to most sources -- like the USDA -- we live south of the native range of Nannyberry. However, we have other Viburnum species -- at least one, maybe more. Jo and I have never been able to pin down a species ID.)
Remarks: "Horrid" seem an inappropriate name for this beautiful moth. However, in Latin "horridus" (adjectival horrida) means "standing on end, sticking out, rough shaggy, bristly, prickly". Bristling or rough is also given as an archaic meaning for horrid in English.
If you check John Himmelman's lateral view of a Horrid Zale, you will see it has a patch of bristling chocolate colored scales right behind its head and elsewhere on its body. These are probably the bristles that lead to German entomologist Jacob Hubner naming this moth Zale horrida.
Species information from BugGuide.