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Silver Spotted Tiger Moth (Lophocampa argentata)

The Silver Spotted Tiger Moth is a widespread species in the United States, their caterpillar infamous for defoliating Douglas firs. It gets its name from the silvery-white spots on its wings, with two subspecies: Lophocampa argentata argentata and Lophocampa argentata subalpina.

Silver Spotted Tiger Moth


Scientific Classification

  • Family: Erebidae
  • Genus: Lophocampa
  • Scientific Name: Lophocampa argentata

Description and Identification


Larvae are smaller than 4 cm in length. Their dark bodies are covered with yellowish-orange and black bristles all over. It is a member of the “woolly bear” caterpillar species, active throughout fall and winter. They begin feeding in the fall, overwinter during the colder days and resume feeding on warmer winter days till spring.

Silver Spotted Tiger Moth Caterpillar



During summer months starting from May, the caterpillar spins a cocoon made up of its shed hair and silk webbing. It attaches itself to a tree or litter on the ground.

Silver Spotted Tiger Moth Cocoon


Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present but not prominent

Color and Appearance

There is no significant disparity when the wings are opened or closed.

Forewing: It is brown and covered with silvery-white spots.

Hindwing: It is entirely white with a brown spot at the end of each wing.

Average wingspan:About 8cm (as seen in other tiger moths)

Season: Mid- July to Mid- August


They are emerald green, with around 450 in a single cluster laid on the host plant’s branches.

Quick Facts

DistributionBritish Columbia to southern California; and along the eastern sides of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado, and probably Northern Mexico
HabitatMountainous regions where Douglas firs grow
PredatorsBirds, parasitic flies, and wasps
Lifespan of Adults1 month
Host PlantsDouglas firs, true firs, spruce, and pines
Adult DietDoes not eat

Did you know

  • Packard, an American entomologist, described this species in 1864.
  • The bristles on the caterpillar are poisonous and should be handled with care. However, if touched by accident, there will be no significant harm done.
Silver Spotted Tiger Moth Image


Silver Spotted Tiger Moth Picture


Photos of Silver Spotted Tiger Moth


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