The humidity and heat of the Deep South, Texas, and Mexico are welcome elements for the Florida Fern Moth.
Like the tropical ferns the caterpillar feeds on, the Florida Fern Moth not only tolerates, but prefers sticky, warm weather. The brown moth is active pretty much all year in Florida, though it is also at home in the southern coastal states of the U.S. and well into Mexico.
A 'V'-shaped brown line is outlined in white when looking at the wings from overhead. Hairy legs radiate outward from under the body. A small tuft of reddish-orange hairs peek out from between the wings. A mosaic of tan, ivory, white, and brown covers the wings. The plump caterpillar may be green and forming black bars on its 'spine', or it may be completely black depending on its maturity. Fertilized eggs are laid on the leaves of many types of fern plants, which will feed the hungry larvae once they hatch. Look for the moth and the caterpillar on ferns hanging from porches, nestled among woodlands, or even in plant nurseries.
Scientific Name: Callopistria floridensis
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 17mm to 21mm (0.66in to 0.82in)
Colors: brown, tan, white
Descriptors: sharp angles, flying, golden brown, shards
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.