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Elder Shoot Borer (Achatodes zeae)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Elder Shoot Borer.




Brassy orange tufts of hair on the body stick out from the silvery gray and brown wings of the Elder Shoot Borer.



 Updated: 1/30/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




Small bunches of burnt-orange, raised hairs on the dorsal side of this moth give it a rugged profile. The hairy thorax is also orange. Though the overall color of the moth seems brown, a pale gray tone may overlay the wings in some individuals. Wavy black lines cross the wings, and sets of black spots run down them. A pale dot by the 'shoulders' might be visible near the thorax, and wings tips have pale patches on them.

Caterpillars for this moth are also called spindle worms, and they feed on elderberry leaves at first, but they migrate to the shoots as they develop and use dead canes for laying more eggs. This feeding activity takes a toll on the elderberry plant. They also consume corn, dahlia, and grasses. The body is a creamy white with black polka dots on it. The head is black, and so is the rear. Look for them on stems or at the splitting point where branches shoot out of the plant. Picking them off the plant is the best way to reduce their impact on it.


General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Pest insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Noctuidae [ View More ]
          Genus: Achatodes [ View More ]
            Species: zeae
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Descriptors
Scientific Name: Achatodes zeae
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 12mm to 13mm (0.47in to 0.51in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; orange; silver; gray; black; white
Descriptors: orange; silvery; fins; tufts; orange back; flying; pest
Relative Size Comparison
Lo: 12mm | Hi: 13mm
Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
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.
Territorial Map
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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State of New Mexico graphic
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State of South Carolina graphic
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State of Tennessee graphic
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State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
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State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Graphic showing basic anatomy of a common North American butterfly and moth insect
1
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used for sensing.
2
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
3
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
4
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
5
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
6
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.