|scientific name Diachrysia balluca |
common name Large Brassy Plusia
Mature poplar and mixedwood forest.
Adults have been collected in Alberta from mid-July through late August.
A large (4.3-4.8 cm wingspan) grey-brown moth with pointed, almost falcate forewings. The forewings have large patches of dull, metallic green over much of the outer two-thirds. The hindwings are grey brown and are unmarked. Unmistakable. It is possibly the largest member of the subfamily Plusiinae in the world.
Adults are nocturnal and come to light. There is a single brood each year.
Rather local and uncommon but at the northwestern edge of it's range; no concerns.
No Alberta data; elsewhere the larvae are reported to utilize a variety of plants, including hops (Humulus lupulus), aspen (Populus tremuloides), wood nettle (Laportea canadensis) and raspberry (Rubus sp.).
Nova Scotia west across Alberta to the foothills, south to Kentucky, Georgia and Florida. In Alberta, it has been taken mainly in the aspen-parkland southern Boreal forest edge in the Edmonton region, but has also been recorded west to the edge of the foothills at Olds and Gainford. The first Alberta specimen was collected in 1988.
Your identification information is sorely lacking. It is not, as you describe "... patches of dull, metallic green ..." It is covered in some of the most spectacular iridescent colorings ever seen in nature. Dependent on the angle of light, it can appear to be a bright metallic blue to green and to an amazing array of brassy and shiny silvers, coppers, and golds. It is perhaps one of the most beautiful moths in the animal kingdom. Some have even mistaken sightings of this moth for a shiny new coin seen from a distance. This is why admirers of this species have affectionately given it (and promote) the common name of "Hologram Moth". Green-patched Looper Moth" and "Large Brassy Plusia" just don''t do it justice. No doubt given these names from dead specimens observed at stodgy entomologists'' desks. Nor will any photographs ever do this moth justice. Until you see a live one in real life you will have no idea that nature could create such a spectacular marvel.
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