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Sunflower Moth (Homoeosoma ellectellum)

The sunflower moth is a snout moth found throughout the Western hemisphere. They are easily recognizable from how they wrap their wings around their bodies, giving them a cigar-like appearance.

Sunflower Moth

Extension.sdstate.edu

Scientific Classification


  • Family: Pyralidae
  • Genus: Homoeosoma
  • Scientific Name: Homoeosoma ellectellum

Description and Identification

Caterpillar

Initially, they are yellow, but they become brown-or purple- striped with brown heads as they become older. It takes around 15-19 days for them to mature.

Sunflower Moth Larvae

Researchgate.net

Sunflower Moth Caterpillar

Myfields.info

Pupa

They pupate inside the flower head of the host plant with the help of webbing.

Sunflower Moth Pupa

Bugguide.net

Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present but not prominent.

Color and Appearance

When opened, the wings are silvery-gray with a few dark spots and dark scales. When closed, the wings wrap themselves around the moth’s body.

Average wingspan: 18–20 mm

 Flight pattern: Consistent

Season: June-July

Homoeosoma ellectellum

Calscape.com

Egg

Female moths lay their eggs in the base of the developing heads of florets.

Quick Facts

DistributionNorth and South America
HabitatPlaces where sunflowers grow including meadows, plains, and prarielands
Lifespan of AdultsAround a week
Host PlantsPrimarily sunflowers, also canola, cotton, and oranges
PredatorsBraconid wasps
Adult DietDoes not feed

Did You Know

  • American entomologist George Duryea Hurst first described this species in 1887.
  • Sunflower Moth Image

    Bugwoodcloud.org

    Sunflower Moth Picture

    Calscape.com

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