Home / Erebidae Moths / Dogbane Tiger Moth (Cycnia tenera)

Dogbane Tiger Moth (Cycnia tenera)

The dogbane tiger moth is a member of the family of Erebidae moths found in North America. One of the unique traits of these moths worth mentioning is their supposed ability to emit high-frequency ultrasound signals through clicks that actually marr or jam the echolocation processes of the bats, preventing the latter from detecting and attacking these moths.

There has been several studies, yet nothing conclusive have been drawn yet.

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Erebidae
  • Genus: Cycnia
  • Scientific Name: Cycnia tenera

Dogbane Tiger Moth


Description and Identification


These caterpillars are covered with soft grayish-white hairs, giving them a fuzzy appearance.

Dogbane Tiger Moth Caterpillar



Pupation takes place inside a gray cocoon made of discarded larval hairs.

Dogbane Tiger Moth Cocoon


Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present but not prominent.

Color and Appearance

When the wings are opened, they are white with a buttery yellow margin. When the wings are closed, the colors remain visible.

They have

Average wingspan: 3-4 cm

Flight pattern: Erratic

Season: May to October

Cycnia tenera



The translucent eggs are of a pale purple color. They are generally laid in clutches of 50-100 on the leaves of the host plant.

Quick Facts

Other namesDelicate cycnia
DistributionNorth America, ranging from southern British Columbia to Nova Scotia in Canada to Arizona and Florida in the United States
HabitatMeadows and roadsides
Lifespan of Adults5-10 days
Host PlantsMilkweed and Indian hemp
Adult DietDoes not feed

Did You Know

  • This moth’s interactions with predators have been of great interest, with birds and bats avoiding it. Besides emitting ultrasonic signals as mentioned above, they even have an extremely bitter taste, perhaps due to their diet, causing birds to avoid them.
  • There are two sub-species of this moth – Cycnia tenera tenera and Cycnia tenera sciurus.
Dogbane Tiger Moth Pictures


Delicate Cycnia


Dogbane Tiger Moth Image


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