Scarlet Winged Lichen Moth (Hypoprepia miniata)
Scarlet winged lichen moth, alternately known as the scarlet winged moth belongs to the Erebidae family, is indigenous to different parts of North America, including British Columbia, parts of Arizona, Texas, and also the eastern parts of the United States covering Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. It has a reddish appearance on its wings and mainly feeds on lichen, resulting in its name, scarlet winged lichen moth.
Description and Identification
The larva has a brown speckled coloration with thick black bristles similar to the lichen they feed. This helps them camouflage with their surroundings, serving as a defense mechanism against their predators.
The caterpillar eats the lichen growing on pine and other trees until they reach the pupal phase, and then they drift away. The pupa, too, has a reddish-brown coloration closely similar to adults.
Sexual Dimorphism: Present but not prominent
Color and Appearance
Forewings: When opened, the wings mostly appear bright red. They are intersected by two gray stripes and a shorter one running between the two prominent bands. When closed, the color and pattern remains the same, red base, alongside two long and a short grayish stripe.
Hindwings: When opened, like the forewings, the hindwings also appear red, marked with a dark band. When closed, the color and pattern remain unchanged.
Average Wingspan: 1.4 – 2 cm
Flight Pattern: Consistent
Season: West: July – August; East: April – September
The eggs are round and small, laid in clusters near the host plants.
|Other Names||Scarlet lichen moth|
|Distribution||South of British Columbia to western parts of the Rocky Mountains up to Texas and Arizona|
|Habitat||Woodlands, mainly in pine forests|
|Lifespan of Adults||15 – 30 days|
|Host Plants||Mostly pine (as the larva eats the lichen growing there)|
|Adult Diet||Not known since they mostly come out at night|
Did You Know
- English entomologist William Kirby described this species first in the year 1837.
- Scarlet-winged lichen moth has two subspecies, namely Hypoprepia miniata miniata, and Hypoprepia miniata mississippiensis.