Pink moth

Asked July 28, 2020, 10:59 PM EDT

Today, I observed this small pink moth that I have never observed before. After a quick search, I believe it to be a Souhern Pink Moth. I found it near a 3 year-old, established salvia bush. Has this species been observed in Oregon before?

Clackamas County Oregon

10 Responses

Hmm. I've never seen one here. But it appears your identification may be accurate
.If so, various internet sites note that its larvae (caterpillars) can decimate salvia.

I'm going to pass your inquiry onto an entomologist who can verify (or not) the ID and who will probably know its distribution in Oregon.

Hi!

I can't see enough detail in the photos to say for sure if that's a southern pink moth, but it sure looks similar! And the fact that the moth was on a Salvia makes it more likely that the ID is correct.

As far as I know, the southern pink moth, Pyrausta inornatalis, has never been collected or seen in Oregon before. Here is a map with verified observations...

I will forward your message to entomologist colleagues at the Oregon Department to see if they have any recent, unpublished records of the southern pink moth in Oregon.

In the meanwhile, if you see these moths again and could collect some specimens, that would be really helpful for confirming our suspicions. You could also search your Salvia plant for lcaterpillars to see if they are present.

Thanks for sharing your observations!



Oops...I see I made a typo in my previous message. I will forward your message to entomologist colleagues at the Oregon Department of Agriculture to see if they have any recent, unpublished records of the southern pink moth in Oregon.

I'll keep my eyes open. I looked up pictures of the larvae, and I'll dig around the salvia plants. I'm assuming there should be some, because they've been planted in my yard for 3 seasons.
I had never seen a small pink moth before, so it was very easy to spot even though it is a rather small moth.

Thanks! Let me know if you are successful.
Cheers!

Hi again,

Just got a note back from my colleagues at the Oregon Department of Ag. Just a few weeks ago, they got specimens of these same moths from a person in SE Portland. And the moths were southern pink moths. This is a new invasion of the species into our area and is not good news for those of us who like to grow Salvias. Hopefully our climate will prevent them from being as damaging here as they can be elsewhere.

BTW...the folks at ODA would like to map locations where these moths are seen. Would you be willing to share your address or location by latitude and longitude?

Thanks much!
Yours,
Bill


Sure.

6422 SE May St
Milwaukie, OR 97222

I was able to catch a moth today, and it's still alive.

Terrific!! Thanks for the follow-through!
I think it would be best for now to freeze that moth to preserve it.
If you email me directly, I'll put you in touch with Josh Vlach and Richard Worth, who are my colleagues at the Oregon Department of Ag. We'll want to get the specimen to them, so when I link you up, you all can coordinate on how to do that.
My email address is gerthw@oregonstate.edu

Thanks so much!
Yours,
Bill