Brassy orange tufts of hair on the body stick out from the silvery gray and brown wings of the Elder Shoot Borer.
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.
Scientific Name: Achatodes zeae
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 12mm to 13mm (0.47in to 0.51in)
Colors: brown; orange; silver; gray; black; white
Descriptors: orange; silvery; fins; tufts; orange back; flying; pest
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.