I haven't attempted to identify this moth. The library had only one book on moths - one with some color, but mostly black and white images. The printing plates weren't lined up - blurry. Many moths are blurry like nightjars. Cryptic wings, dusty.
Dusty with the stuff that makes them fly, so said a voice from my childhood. Don't handle them too much, the dust comes off, then they won't be able to fly. Can't recall the owner of that voice.
In Caterpillars of Eastern North America by David L. Wagner, two entries show under ferns as host plants - pink-shaded fern moth and black arches moth. Pink-shaded looks like this:
Yes, they look like Goldie's woodfern, a spectacular fern that we found in a nearby forested wetlands. It is on New Jersey's List of Endangered Plant Species and Plant Species of Concern.
Pink-shaded's common foodplants are "ferns, such as New York fern." I will be looking more closely at New York fern from June to October (2 generations).
Black arches is a generalist, among a variety of meadow and early successional woody foodplants, it eats bracken. Wagner suggests seeking the caterpillar in moist to wet meadows with abundant goldenrod in the autumn.
American Wildlife & Plants: A Guide to Wildlife Food Habits shows just a few animals eating ferns, especially evergreen ones: ruffed grouse - Rattlesnake, woodfern (no species noted), and Christmas fern leaves; deer and hares - Christmas and others.
To be continued...