American Lappet Moths hold their hind wings out from underneath the forewings, creating the illusion of a dried out leaf.
Well-camouflaged among dried foliage, the American Lappet Moth uses its unique profile to create dimension in the hopes that it escapes the notice of predators. The brown moth has scalloped wing edges and bands of lighter color that also help in that endeavor. Some individuals are dark brown while others are golden brown or tawny. It ranges across most of the continent and can be found in urban areas as well as less developed ones.
Caterpillars feed on the leaves of alder, birch, and poplar trees as well as roses. A lappet is a lobe or fleshy outcropping, and the caterpillar has many near the lower sides of its body that grow dense tufts of hairs. When stretched out, the grayish-brown caterpillar exposes two bright orange bands between segments by its head. It looks like a small, short twig when the orange bands are not revealed. Two broods can be produced each year offering many opportunities to see both larvae and adults.
Scientific Name: Phyllodesma americana
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 15mm to 25mm (0.59in to 0.98in)
Colors: brown, gray, white
Descriptors: hind wings, flat, flare, side wings, stick out, flying, hairy, scalloped lines
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.