It’s a bit embarassing to be so far wrong, but a year later I finally discovered that the lovely bug I found last summer was not even close to what I thought it was. I was thinking some kind of leafhopper (of which there are many, some colored just as nicely), but it turns out I was way, way, off. It’s not even a homoptera of any kind, not even a beetle at all. I was looking at the pictures again, as I assembled some albums for the new flickr photo album, and I realized those antennae were awfully long–way too long for it to be a leafhopper. Then I started looking around, and found a very similar plate in the Peterson’s Guide. The “ermine moth” (yponomeutidae). A little internet sleuthing, and I’ve got a definite ID.
It’s an Ailanthus Webworm Moth (Atteva Punctella)–which makes perfect sense, because we’ve got plenty of Ailanthus growing here in Brooklyn.
I thought I was a better observer than that–the differences between lepidoptera and homoptera should be apparent even to my casual eye. In my own defense, I could say that I didn’t capture or kill (much less dissect) the little guy, but I looked at him closely enough to take those photos–you’d think I’d realize that he was a moth, not a hopper!
Better late than never, I guess. 😳