Home / Erebidae Moth / Harnessed Tiger Moth (Apantesis phalerata)

Harnessed Tiger Moth (Apantesis phalerata)

The harnessed tiger moth is a member of the family of Erebidae moths. Like other tiger moths, it can be recognized from its beautiful wings marked with a striking color pattern. American entomologist Thaddeus William Harris first described the species in 1841.

Harnessed Tiger Moth

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Scientific Classification


  • Family: Erebidae
  • Genus: Apantesis
  • Scientific Name: Apantesis phalerata

Description and Identification

Caterpillar

The larvae are grayish-black, covered with yellowish, brush-like bristles all over their body. There is a yellowish-orange stripe from its head to its posterior end. They mainly feed on  leaves of plants like dandelion, clover, and plantain.

Harnessed Tiger Moth Caterpillar

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Pupa

The shed larval hairs contribute towards the formation of the cocoon resulting in a fuzzy pupal case.

Harnessed Tiger Moth Pupa

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Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present but not prominent.

Color and Appearance: Similar to other tiger moths, the harnessed tiger moth has an exquisite showy appearance. Its abdomen is black, with its sides being red.

Forewing: When opened, the wings are black with cream-colored lines shaped into a triangle. When closed, the pattern remains the same.

Hindwing: When opened, the wings are an orangish-pink color, with prominent black patches. When closed, they are folded into the forewings, with the reddish tinge slightly visible.

In the southern states of the U.S. the coloration of the hindwings in both sexes could vary a little, with the reddish tinge replaced by a more yellowish one, and the black edging being minimal or completely absent.

Average wingspan: 30–42 mm (1.2–1.7 in)

Flight pattern: Not recorded

Season: April to September

Apantesis phalerata

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Egg

The eggs of these moths are laid on the host plants.

Quick Facts

DistributionParts of Canada, including Ontario, Quebec; and the U.S., in North America, from Maine up to Florida, west to Texas, and north to South Dakota.
HabitatGardens and open areas
PredatorsBats
Lifespan of Adults5-10 days
Host PlantsClover, corn, dandelion, and plantains.
Adult DietDoes not eat

Did You Know

  • Their bright colors ward off predators by making them look unpalatable. However, the bats which use echolocation instead of sight hunt these species with ease.
Harnessed Tiger Moth Image

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Harnessed Tiger Moth Picture

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