This moth's elegant curves made by contrasting colors might cause one to overlook the distressing appetite of its offspring.
Caterpillars of the Cream-bordered Dichomeris are small and feed on goldenrod, sunflower, and aster plants. They have dark heads and white-and-brown striped bodies. A caterpillar uses its silk to tie leaves together, so they are also called 'leaf tiers' (pronounced 'ty-ers'). This strategy hides the caterpillar from predators while it eats away at the bud in middle, effectually eating the flower before it has a chance to grow. Left unchecked, a population of these caterpillars can result in few blooms on an affected plant.
Adults are small, but attractive. Dark purple-black fills in the center and the bottom of the forewings. The outer edges are lined in a creamy ivory color that extends into the darkness in the bottom half of the wings. The curvy pattern created by the two colors is distinct and easy to see. The labial palps in front of the face actually curl upward, creating the illusion of horns on the head. The moth is active only in the warmest months of the year.
Scientific Name: Dichomeris flavocostella
Other Name(s): Cream-edged Dichomeris
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 8mm to 9mm (0.31in to 0.35in)
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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.