American Lappet Moth (Phyllodesma americana)
The American lappet moth is a member of the family of Lasiocampidae moths found in North America. They are well known for their camouflaging abilities both as larva and adults. American entomologist Thaddeus William Harris first described this species in 1841.
- Family: Lasiocampidae
- Genus: Phyllodesma
- Scientific Name: Phyllodesma americana
Description and Identification
The larvae are blue, black, gray, orange, and white on the back, with hairy lobes called lappets along the sides, arranged densely.
Once the caterpillar is mature enough, it is ready to pupate
Sexual Dimorphism: Present but not prominent.
Color and Appearance
Forewings: When the wings are opened, the color varies from bluish-gray to reddish to yellowish-brown, with violet and white markings. When the wings are closed, the color remains unchanged, while the markings remain partially visible.
Hindwings: When the wings are opened and closed, the color is similar to the forewings.
One interesting fact about their wings is that when they rest the forewings remain over their abdomen just like a tent. The hindwings, on the other hand stick out horizontally.
Average wingspan: 2.9-4.9 cm
Flight pattern: Erratic
Season: March to September
The eggs are laid close to the preferred host plant.
|Distribution||Nova Scotia to Georgia, west through Texas to California, north to the Canadian provinces of Yukon, and British Columbia|
|Lifespan of Adults||Few days to about two weeks at the maximum|
|Host Plants||Alder, birch, chinquapin, oak, poplar, rose, snowbrush, and willow|
|Adult Diet||Does not feed|
Did You Know
- This moth has several sub-species, including Phyllodesma americana rockiesensis, Phyllodesma americana californica, and Phyllodesma americana dyari.