Gold Moths have an unmistakable metallic gleam that catches the eye, and its caterpillar is just as noteworthy.
Thin brown lines etch their way across the golden wings of the Gold Moth. Each forewing has a thin brown ring, and beneath it, a reniform spot with a tiny black dot in its center. The thorax has a tuft of darker hairs that are similar in color to the dark fringe along the bottom edges of the wings. Adults are most active in the hottest part of the summer through autumn.
The boldly-colored caterpillar is black with an orange-red head. The sides of the body have thick orange-red spots, and white dots sit just above the feet. This black rings cross over the 'back', breaking open when they reach the orange-red spots. When bothered, the caterpillar tucks its head in like a turtle and lifts its rear end. The host plant of this species is crown-beard, a type of wildflower that has small yellow or white flowers that look like mini-sunflowers.
Scientific Name: Basilodes pepita
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 18mm to 24mm (0.70in to 0.94in)
Colors: gold; yellow; orange; brown
Descriptors: metallic; shimmer; golden; flying; brown rings; black dot
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.