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California Oak Moth (Phryganidia californica)

The California oak moth is a member of the family of Notodontidae or prominent moths. They are found along the coasts of the United States, particularly Oregon, and California.

California Oak Moth

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Scientific Classification


  • Family: Notodontidae
  • Genus: Phryganidia
  • Scientific Name: Phryganidia californica

Description and Identification

Caterpillar

The larvae are black with two yellow mid-dorsal stripes with purple borders running down their entire length. Full-grown larvae reach 3 cm in length.

Younger larvae feed between veins on the lower surfaces of the leaf, while older ones chew entirely through the leaf blade, leaving behind prominent leaf veins.

California Oak Moth Caterpillar

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Pupa

The chrysalis is white or yellow with black markings.

California Oak Moth Pupa

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Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present but not prominent.

Color and Appearance

Forewing: When the wings are opened, they are grayish-brown with prominent dark veins. When the wings are closed, they are bordered by dull yellowish scales.

Hindwing: When the wings are opened, they are light gray with dark veins. When the wings are closed, the patterns remain.

Average wingspan: 3 cm

Flight pattern: Consistent

Season: March to November

Phryganidia californica

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Egg

These moths’ eggs are laid either on the ground or on the leaves of the host plant.

California Oak Moth Eggs

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Quick Facts

DistributionCoastal California and Oregon
HabitatOak woodlands
Lifespan of AdultsNot recorded
Host PlantsCalifornia oak
Adult DietDoes not feed

Did You Know

  • American entomologist Alpheus Spring Packard Jr. first described this species in 1864.
California Oak Moth Image

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California Oak Moth Picture

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