Home / American Silkworm Moths (Apatelodidae) / Spotted Apatelodes (Apatelodes torrefacta)

Spotted Apatelodes (Apatelodes torrefacta)

The spotted apatelodes is a member of the family of American Silkworm moths. English botanist Sir James Edward Smith first described this species in 1797.

Spotted Apatelodes


Scientific Classification

  • Family: Apatelodidae
  • Genus: Apatelodes
  • Scientific Name: Apatelodes torrefacta

Description and Identification


Initially, the caterpillar has white, neon hair all over its body, but the setae become bright yellow as it matures. This makes the larva very easy to spot on trees.

On both sides of the caterpillar’s body, a pair of black “V”-shaped chevrons merge to form a row.


Once the larva reaches its final instar, it overwinters as a pupa, that have a brownish-green body.

Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present but not prominent.

Color and Appearance

Forewing: When the wings are opened, they are gray with brown lines. A dark spot is observed on each wing, which gives the moth its name. When the wings are closed, a white spot can be seen on the edge of their wings.

Hindwing: When the wings are opened, they are reddish-brown. When the wings are closed, the color remains the same.

Average wingspan: 3.2–4.2 cm

Flight pattern: Erratic

Season:  May to August

Spotted Apatelodes Moth



The eggs of this moth are laid on the leaves of the host plant

Quick Facts

DistributionNorth America, ranging from Maine and southern Ontario, to Florida, west to Texas, and north to Wisconsin.
HabitatDeciduous forests
Lifespan of AdultsNot recorded
Host PlantsAsh, cherry, maple, and oak
Adult DietDoes not feed

Did You Know

  • The spotted apatelodes moth looks like a tiny dragon from behind, earning it the nickname dragon moth.
Apatelodes torrefacta


Dragon Moth


Spotted Apatelodes Picture


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