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Scarlet Winged Lichen Moth (Hypoprepia miniata)

Scarlet Winged Lichen Moth
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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.

Scientific Classification


  • Family: Erebidae
  • Genus: Hypoprepia
  • Scientific Name: Hypoprepia miniata

Description and Identification

Caterpillar

Scarlet-winged Lichen Moth Caterpillar
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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.

Pupa

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.

Adult Moth

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.

Hypoprepia miniata
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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

Egg

The eggs are round and small, laid in clusters near the host plants.

Quick Facts

Other NamesScarlet lichen moth
DistributionSouth of British Columbia to western parts of the Rocky Mountains up to Texas and Arizona
HabitatWoodlands, mainly in pine forests
PredatorsBirds, bats
Lifespan of Adults15 – 30 days
Host PlantsMostly pine (as the larva eats the lichen growing there)
Adult DietNot 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.
Scarlet Winged Lichen Moth Picture
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Scarlet Lichen Moth
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Scarlet Winged Lichen Moth Image
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