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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


Scientific Classification

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

Description and Identification


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



The chrysalis is white or yellow with black markings.

California Oak Moth Pupa


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



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

California Oak Moth Eggs


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


California Oak Moth Picture


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