Geometer Moths (Geometridae)

The geometer moths are one of the largest families of moths currently present, with over 23,000 species listed under it. Their name combines the Ancient Greek words geo, meaning “the earth,” and metron meaning “measure”.

List of Moths in this Family

  • Birch mocha moth (Cyclophora albipunctata)
  • North Island zebra moth (Declana atronivea)
  • False mocha moth (Cyclophora porata)
  • Brimstone moth (Opisthograptis luteolata)
  • Orange underwing moth (Archiearis parthenias)
  • Swallowtail moth (Ourapteryx sambucaria)
  • Tulip tree beauty moth (Epimecis hortaria)
  • Maple spanworm moth (Ennomos magnaria)
  • Netted carpet moth (Eustroma reticulatum)
  • Pale beauty moth (Campaea perlata)
  • Phoenix moth (Eulithis prunata)
  • Maiden’s blush moth (Cyclophora punctaria)
  • Riband wave moth (Idaea aversata)
  • Small fan-footed wave moth (Idaea biselata)
  • Single-dotted wave moth (Idaea dimidiata)
  • Small scallop moth (Idaea emarginata)
  • Blue tiger moth (Dysphania percota)
  • Dwarf cream wave moth (Idaea fuscovenosa)
  • Rusty wave moth (Idaea inquinata)
  • Purple-bordered gold moth (Idaea muricata)
  • Bright wave moth (Idaea ochrata)
  • Least carpet moth (Idaea rusticata)
  • Small dusty wave moth (Idaea seriata)
  • Purple-barred yellow moth (Lythria purpuraria)
  • Vestal moth (Rhodometra sacraria)
  • Winter moth (Operophtera brumata)
  • Common pink-barred moth (Rhodostrophia vibicaria)
  • Common gray moth (Anavitrinella pampinaria)
  • Middle lace border moth (Scopula decorata)
  • Cream wave moth (Scopula floslactata)
  • Small blood-vein moth (Scopula imitaria)
  • Lewes wave moth (Scopula immorata)
  • Lesser cream wave moth (Scopula immutata)
  • Mullein wave moth (Scopula marginepunctata)
  • Zachera moth (Chiasmia defixaria)
  • Peppered moth (Biston betularia)
  • Blood-vein moth (Timandra comae)
  • Infant moth (Archiearis infans)
  • Scarce infant moth (Leucobrephos brephoides)
  • March moth (Alsophila aescularia)
  • Fall cankerworm moth (Alsophila pometaria)
  • White spring moth (Lomographa vestaliata)

Description and Identification


The larvae are brown, green, or grey, resembling a twig in appearance. Due to their unique looping movements, these caterpillars have often been nicknamed “loopers”. They are 2.5 cm long in their final instar.


These moths pupate in loose soil or leaf litter.

Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present. Some females lack wings or possess atrophied wings.

Color and Appearance

When opened, the wings of these moths have been shown to have a continuous pattern on both the fore- and hindwings. These colors and patterns remain visible even when closed.

Average wingspan: 3 cm; though the range is from 1-5 cm

Flight pattern: Erratic

Season: April through November


The color of the eggs varies from specimen to specimen, ranging from green to brown to white. They are either laid singly or in a cluster.

Quick Facts

Other names Inchworms, spanworms
Distribution Global
Habitat Vegetated areas, especially woodlands
Lifespan of Adults 2-3 months
Predators Birds
Host Plants Wooden trees and shrubbery
Adult Diet Does not feed

Did You Know

  • English zoologist William Elford Leach first described the geometer moths in 1815.