Home / Lappet Moths (Lasiocampidae) / American Lappet Moth (Phyllodesma americana)

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.

American Lappet Moth


Scientific Classification

  • 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.

American Lappet Moth Caterpillar



Once the caterpillar is mature enough, it is ready to pupate

Adult Moth

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

Phyllodesma americana



The eggs are laid close to the preferred host plant.

Quick Facts

DistributionNova Scotia to Georgia, west through Texas to California, north to the Canadian provinces of Yukon, and British Columbia
HabitatNot recorded
Lifespan of AdultsFew days to about two weeks at the maximum
Host PlantsAlder, birch, chinquapin, oak, poplar, rose, snowbrush, and willow
Adult DietDoes not feed

Did You Know

  • This moth has several sub-species, including Phyllodesma americana rockiesensisPhyllodesma americana californica, and Phyllodesma americana dyari.
American Lappet Moth Image


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