The tiny Common Spragueia is a colorful moth with larvae that feed on a notorious weed.
Bindweed is the preferred food plant for the larvae of the Common Spragueia. The plant is native to Europe and is incredibly difficult to eradicate from gardens and crop fields. Bindweed's charming white flowers might be mistaken for morning glory blooms, but this plant is not a vine. The presence of Common Spragueia can act as both an indication that bindweed may be growing nearby, but also that this plant's biological nemesis is doing its part to control it. Caterpillars feed on bindweed and can help reduce plant health, making it work harder to thrive. The larvae may be dark brown or black, and have a white or ivory streak on the sides that is studded with raised black dots. They can bend in many places and may be seen holding down the rear end, while the body arches in the middle and raises the head.
The adult moth is small, but quite colorful. The myriad of colors are bolder than its relatives in the bird-droppings moth subfamily. It is overall orange with large black dashes on the top and sides. These black dashes may even connect to each other. Outer edges of the wings are light yellow or white. The bottom edge of the wings has a black border. Legs are black with a few white bands. They are active from spring through early autumn, and can be found near the edges of woods and in old fields.
Scientific Name: Spragueia leo
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 7mm to 10mm (0.27in to 0.39in)
Colors: orange; black; white; yellow
Descriptors: black spots; wide shoulders; tapered; flying; black caterpillar;
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.