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Common Gray Moth (Anavitrinella pampinaria)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Common Gray Moth, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 2/17/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Common Gray Moth  
Picture of Common-Gray-Moth

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.

Common Gray Moth Information

Category: Butterfly or Moth
Common Name: Common Gray Moth
Scientific Name: Anavitrinella pampinaria

Taxonomy Hierarchy

 Arrow graphic Kingdom: Animalia
  Arrow graphic Phylum: Arthropoda
   Arrow graphic Class: Insecta
    Arrow graphic Order: Lepidoptera
     Arrow graphic Family: Geometridae
      Arrow graphic Genus: Anavitrinella
       Arrow graphic Species: pampinaria

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 23 mm to 34 mm (0.897 inches to 1.326 inches)
Identifying Colors: gray
Additional Descriptors: marbled, mottled, lines, flying

North American Territorial Reach (Though Not Limited To): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that 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. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

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