|Dorsal view - note feathery moth antennae- Click to enlarge|
|Ventral - view of underside|
The body was thick and fuzzy when seen in side view. I didn't notice another detail until I enlarged the side view photograph. When viewed with the right angle of light, the edges of the forewing had an almost metalic shine.
This moth nectars on plum, redbud and cherry, which reminds us of the importance of early blooming flowers to these small creatures. They fly only from late March to mid May in Missouri, mating, laying their eggs on grapevines and then die. Their larvae will hatch, grow and then pupate and over-winter in wood or dense moss.
The caterpillar is a beauty, captured by fellow Master Naturalist David Dawson of the Meramec Hills Chapter. It forms a shelter by rolling up the lower edge of a grape leaf and tying it up with silk. Many other species do this and finding rolled or folded up leaves to inspect is a good game for young and old.
The scientific description is much more detailed than mine, but mentions that no other species resembles it. You will have to forgive my photography as the pictures were taken through the baggie so I could report its presence in Christian County to BAMONA. Once it was out of the bag for a more formal portrait, it warmed up quickly like most small moths and butterflies and flew away before I could get another picture.
There is a detailed description of P. epimenis at this link.