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Indian meal moth

Plodia interpunctella

These small moths can be recognized by their bicoloured hind wings. The base of their forewings is clear, grey, green or whitish, and the other extremity is darker, either reddish brown or dark grey. They range in size from 11 to 20 mm.

The white or yellowish caterpillars are hairless, with orange-brown heads. They moult five times and measure up to 12 cm long in the last instar.

Meal moth

Pyralis farinalis

These moths are recognizable by the two curved white lines on their forewings. The middle part of the wing is a lighter brown than either end. The wingspan is 15 to 30 mm. At rest, the moths adopt an odd posture, holding their wings flat and curving the abdomen upward.

The cream-coloured, hairless, brown-headed caterpillars are up to 20 mm long.

Spongy moth

Lymantria dispar


The two sexes are easy to distinguish: the females have white wings with black spots and thin antennae, while the males are darker and smaller and have feathery antennae. The wings are marked with wavy grey lines in both sexes. Their wingspan is 3 to 4 cm for males and 5.6 to 6.7 cm for females. The females are so heavy that they cannot fly.

In their last stage, the caterpillars are hairy and have small raised coloured spots on their backs. The spots nearest the head are blue, and those farther down the body, red. The head is black and yellow. The caterpillars may be up to 6.5 cm long.

Elm sphinx

Ceratomia amyntor


These large brown moths with their elongated wings have wingspans of up to 11.5 cm. The wings are light brown with white and dark brown markings. The thorax is quite hairy.

The large green or brown caterpillars have four horn-shaped growths near the head and a spine at the tip of the abdomen. The body has a small light-coloured ridge running its length and light diagonal lines on the sides.

Abbott’s sphinx

Sphecodina abbottii


These moths’ wings have scalloped margins. The forewings are brown with lighter markings, and the hindwings are yellow with dark edges. In flight they can be confused with bumble bees, since they emit a buzzing sound as they forage among flowers.

The females are nocturnal, while the males are crepuscular (active at sunset).

When at rest, they perch on the bark of a tree and curve their abdomens upward between the wings. Their wingspan ranges from 5.1 to 7 cm.

The young caterpillars are green, with a horn-shaped growth at the tip of the abdomen. Later, after one moult, they turn whitish or bluish-green. The “horn” disappears and is replaced by a rounded orange knob. In the last instar, the caterpillar reaches 7.5 cm and has two forms: either brown, or with 10 pale green spots on a brown background. In both cases, there is a growth resembling a large eye at the tip of the abdomen.

White-marked tussock moth

Orgyia leucostigma


The adults in this species are quite different: the cream or light grey females are very hairy and wingless, while the males are grey or brownish, with small white spots and dark markings on their forewings. The males have well-developed feathery antennae and a wingspan of up to 3.5 cm.

The caterpillars can be recognized by their bright colours and assorted tufts of hair. They have a red head, a black stripe down the back and yellow stripes on the sides. Two long tufts of black hair stand up near the head, and four white, grey or yellow brush-shaped tufts of hair can be seen on the back. At the tip of the abdomen is a long, dark hair pencil. The caterpillars are up to 3.5 cm long.

Waved sphinx

Ceratomia undulosa


These large moths are recognizable by their hairy bodies and pale grey or light brown wings marked with wavy black and white lines. There is also a small roundish spot on each of the forewings. At rest, the triangular forewings completely cover the hindwings. These moths have a wingspan of up to 11 cm. They are among the most common sphinx moths.

The caterpillars are green, sometimes reddish-brown, with a pinkish spine at the tip of the abdomen. They have seven light slanted lines on each side of the body. In the final instar, the caterpillars may measure up to 7.5 cm.

Rosy maple moth

Dryocampa rubicunda


These pretty pink and yellow moths are easily recognizable by their very hairy bodies. The colours vary, however, and there are also pale, almost white, forms. The males are smaller than the females, which have a wingspan of about 5.5 cm. The sexes can also be differentiated by their antennae: feathery on the males, and thinner on the females.

The caterpillars are green with lengthwise stripes. They have two black horns that look like antennae near their cherry red heads. They are up to 5.5 cm long.

Promethea moth

Callosamia promethea


These are large moths with a wingspan of 7.5 to 10 cm. There are marked differences between the males and females. The males have black wings with a tan border, while the females’ wings are brown or reddish-brown, also with a tan border. Both sexes have an eyespot on each forewing.

In the last instar, the large, hairless caterpillars are whitish green. They have four red knobs near the head and a yellow one near the tip of the abdomen. Their bodies are marked with black dots ringed with very light blue. The caterpillars change appearance with each instar.

Cabbage white

Pieris rapae


The wings of these butterflies are white on top and greenish-yellow beneath, and their bodies are black. The forewings have black tips and round black spots. The males and females can be distinguished by the number of spots on their forewings: the males have one per wing, and the females, two. Both sexes have a single black spot on their hindwings. Their wingspan varies from 3 to 5.8 cm.

The caterpillars are green or blue-green and covered with short, fine hairs. They are up to 3.5 cm long.

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