Confusing Moths

The moths in the accompanying montage are Geometers of modest size and, to the uninitiated at least, fairly confusing. The moths in the top row are Probole. I stopped at the genus level because whether or not the genus contains one or more species is being debated. The lefthand moth in the second row is Plagodis pulveraria, American Barred Umber Moth. The righthand moth and the one in the third row are Besma quercivoraria, Oak Besma.

There are plenty of confusing moth species and also some species that are highly variable. Consider, for example, the genus Hypagyrtis. Here is a montage of Hypagyrtis moths photographed in Carroll County, Virginia. When the genus is flying, I often see two to four phenotypes in a single night. One species? Two? Three? The experts are still arguing.