The gray color and mottled pattern on the wings of the Common Gray can offer this moth a degree of camouflage on light tree trunks, but its caterpillar is a master of disguise.
Adults Common Grays can be found across the continent, though they do not venture into colder, arctic air. They are common in that they are ubiquitous, but also in that they look like many other moths in its family. Overall gray, the Common Gray has a fine pattern of black lines and white hues. Careful study of its thin black wavy lines and gradient shifts are needed to identify it. When the wings are flat, a long black line traverses both wings near the head. Shorter black lines are centered on each forewing as well as on each hindwing. Each antenna looks like a single black feather.
Caterpillars of Common Grays eat leaves from a variety of trees like apple, crab apple, pear, ash, elm, willow, poplar, cottonwood, and aspen as well as smaller plants like clover. Like other Geometer larvae, they are light brown in color and resemble twigs, allowing them to feed and pupate while camouflaged. They stiffen their bodies and can detach one end from a branch in a way that makes them look like a new twig.
Scientific Name: Anavitrinella pampinaria
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 23mm to 34mm (0.90in to 1.33in)
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.