Prominent Moths (Notodontidae)

Prominent moths are a family of moths known for their heavy bodies covered with bristles. Their most distinguishing feature is a “back tooth”,  i.e., an upright tuft of hair protruding from the forewing.

There are over 3800 species in this family.

List of Moths in this Family

  • Buff tip moth (Phalera bucephala)
  • Oak Processionary Moth (Thaumetopoea processionea)
  • Puss moth (Cerura vinula)
  • Lobster moth (Stauropus fagi)
  • Poplar kitten moth (Furcula bifida)
  • Coxcomb prominent moth (Ptilodon capucina)
  • Rough prominent moth (Nadata gibbosa)
  • Astarte prominent moth (Heterocampa astarte)
  • Oblique heterocampa moth (Heterocampa obliqua)
  • White-blotched heterocampa moth (Heterocampa umbrata)
  • Sandplain heterocampa moth (Heterocampa varia)
  • Pink prominent moth (Hyparpax aurora)
  • Lilac moth (Hyparpax perophoroides)
  • Harvey’s prominent moth (Litodonta hydromeli)
  • Variable oakleaf caterpillar moth (Lochmaeus manteo)
  • Double-lined prominent moth (Lochmaeus bilineata)
  • Mottled prominent moth (Macrurocampa marthesia)
  • Drab prominent moth (Misogada unicolor)
  • White-streaked prominent moth (Oligocentria lignicolor)
  • Pale prominent moth (Pterostoma palpina)
  • Arizona prominent moth (Oligocentria pinalensis)
  • Red-washed prominent moth (Oligocentria semirufescens)
  • Hampson’s prominent moth (Rifargia bichorda)
  • Chestnut schizura moth (Schizura badia)
  • Morning-glory prominent moth (Schizura ipomoeae)
  • Silvered prominent moth (Didugua argentilinea)
  • Yellow-necked caterpillar moth (Datana ministra)
  • Angus’ datana moth (Datana angusii)
  • Drexel’s datana moth (Datana drexelii)
  • Major datana moth (Datana major)
  • Contracted datana moth (Datana contracta)
  • Walnut caterpillar moth (Datana integerrima)
  • Spotted datana moth (Datana perspicua)
  • Robust datana moth (Datana robusta)
  • Post-burn datana moth (Datana ranaeceps)
  • White-headed prominent moth (Symmerista albifrons)
  • Red-humped oakworm moth (Symmerista canicosta)

Description and Identification


The appearances of the larva vary significantly from species to species. For instance, in this stage, the lobster moth resembles a crustacean, while puss moth larvae have a pattern resembling a scary face and a set of twin tails.

These larvae secrete several chemicals (formic acid, cyanic acid, etc.) as a defense.


Pupation occurs inside a cell inside the soil or a cocoon.

Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present but not prominent. Female moths tend to be larger than males.

Color and Appearance

When the wings are opened, they are usually brown or grey. When closed, these colors remain visible.

Average wingspan: 3.5 cm

Flight pattern: Erratic

Season: Year-round


These eggs are almost spherical in shape.

Quick Facts

Distribution Worldwide
Habitat Tropical areas
Lifespan of Adults Not recorded
Host Plants Shrubs and trees like azaleas, cashews, heather, walnuts, and witch-hazel
Adult Diet Does not feed

Did You Know

  • English entomologist James Francis Stephens first described this family in 1829.